Here’s another major reminder to retailers to know their waste streams and to make sure they are being managed and handled properly. On Monday, Kern County Superior Court Judge Sidney P. Chapin ordered Dollar General (Dolgen California) and its subsidiary corporations to pay $1.125 million as part of a settlement of a civil/environmental prosecution. The April 17, 2017 judgment was announced by the Yolo County District Attorney, along with 31 other California District Attorneys as part of a significant civil settlement. A harbinger of the increasingly aggressive stance local prosecutors are taking with respect to household hazardous waste disposal claims, the civil enforcement lawsuit was filed just one week prior, on April 11, 2017, in Kern County by a group of 38 of California’s 58 counties. Dollar General operates about 13,320 stores in 43 states, including a significant number in California.
The lawsuit alleged that Dollar General was in violation of the California Hazardous Waste Control Act. Specifically, Dollar General retail stores throughout the state and its distribution center were accused of unlawfully handling and disposing of various hazardous wastes and materials over a five-year period. Those hazardous wastes and materials included automotive fluids, alkaline batteries, electronic waste, aerosol cans, expired over-the-counter medications and other toxic, ignitable and corrosive wastes. District Attorney inspections revealed that Dollar General retail stores had frequently been sending hazardous wastes to local landfills throughout California that were not permitted to receive those wastes.
Under the consent judgment, Dolgen California is ordered to pay $500,000 in civil penalties and $375,000 to reimburse the costs of the investigation. An additional $112,000 will fund supplemental environmental projects furthering consumer protection and environmental enforcement in California. In addition, Dolgen California will fund hazardous waste minimization and enhanced compliance projects valued at $138,000.
The case is: People of the State of California v. Dolgen California, Superior Court of the State of California, Kern County, No. HM-4112.