Thirty-four California District Attorney’s Offices along with two California City Attorney’s Offices announced on April 27th a settlement with Big Lots Stores, Inc. (“Big Lots”) addressing alleged environmental violations.

An April 17th news released by the Riverside County, California District Attorney’s Office states that a judge ordered Big Lots and its subsidiary corporations to pay $3.5 million in civil penalties and costs.

The news release also noted:

A judgment in a civil lawsuit filed in San Bernardino County Superior Court is the result of an investigation into the unlawful disposal of hazardous waste by Big Lots Stores at its distribution center and its 206 California stores over several years.

The lawsuit had alleged:

. . . instead of transporting hazardous waste to authorized hazardous waste facilities, Big Lots illegally disposed of the waste in the trash and illegally transported it to local landfills not permitted to receive such waste. The hazardous waste included ignitable and corrosive liquids, toxic materials, batteries, and waste from electronic devices. Some of the waste was the result of spills, damaged containers, or customer returns.

Big Lots is stated to have:

  • Adopted and implemented new policies and procedures
  • Adopted and implemented new training programs to properly manage and dispose of hazardous waste
  • Arranged for the collection of hazardous waste by state-registered haulers to transport it to authorized disposal facilities
  • Arranged for proper documentation
  • Cooperated during the investigation

Big Lots is required to pay $2,017,500 in civil penalties. $336,250 will be utilized to reimburse the costs of the investigation. $350,000 will go to funding environmental projects that further environmental enforcement and consumer protection in California. The company will also fund hazardous waste minimization and enhanced compliance projects valued at $803,750.

A copy of the news release can be downloaded here.