On May 28, 2013, Wal-Mart entered a guilty plea with respect to charges filed by the Department of Justice alleging that Wal-Mart violated the Clean Water Act (CWA) at its stores in California and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) at a recycling and repackaging facility located in Missouri. With respect to its California stores, Wal-Mart pleaded guilty to the illegal dumping of corrosive and hazardous liquid wastes into drains that led to publicly owned treatment works at multiple retail stores in Alameda, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Lake, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa, Sonoma, and Santa Clara counties. Wal-Mart agreed to pay $60 million to resolve the California CWA charges. With respect to its recycling and repacking facility in Missouri, Wal-Mart pleaded guilty to violations of FIFRA. According to the plea agreement, Wal-Mart failed to properly train its employees with respect to the required handling of pesticides that were returned to Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is alleged to have sent these pesticides to its recycling warehouse in Missouri where the pesticides were mixed together and then offered for sale to customers in containers that were not labeled with the required registration, ingredients, or use information for the pesticides. Wal-Mart agreed to pay $14 million to resolve the Missouri charges.
Finally, Wal-Mart entered into a consent order with U.S. EPA pursuant to which Wal-Mart is required to implement a comprehensive, nationwide environmental compliance agreement to manage hazardous waste generated at its stores. The agreement includes requirements to ensure adequate environmental personnel and training at all levels of the company, proper identification and management of hazardous wastes, and the development and implementation of Environmental Management Systems at its stores and return centers. Compliance with this agreement is a condition of probation imposed in the above-referenced criminal cases. As part of this consent order, Wal-Mart also agreed to pay a $7.6 million civil penalty. To see a copy of the consent order, please click here.