Wal-Mart has agreed to pay $27.6 million to settle charges that it violated California environmental laws by improperly handling, storing and disposing of hazardous materials, reports the Los Angeles Times. Materials included pesticides, chemicals, paint, acid, aerosols, fertilizer and motor oil.
The settlement includes $21 million for civil penalties and investigative costs and $6 million to fund supplemental environmental projects.
The settlement ends a five-year probe, alleging that 236 Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores, distribution centers and storage facilities were in violation of environmental laws, reports Reuters.
Bonnie Dumanis, the San Diego County district attorney, told Reuters the settlement is one of the largest of its kind in the United States.
In a statement at the company’s Website, Phyllis Harris, vice president, Environmental Compliance, for Walmart U.S. said: “Environmental sustainability is a priority at Wal-Mart, and we take our compliance responsibilities very seriously. It’s important to note that these incidents happened at least four years ago.”
Harris also noted that the company has worked with the state on a comprehensive hazardous waste plan that includes improved training programs, policies and procedures.
Spokesman David Tovar said in the Reuters article that Wal-Mart is working to resolve a separate federal probe looking into similar allegations.
Wal-Mart said the settlement will not impact its fiscal first-quarter operating results.
Some of Wal-Mart’s recent sustainability goals include eliminating greenhouse gases and carbon emissions from its supply chain by 2015, and cutting all waste by reducing, recycling or reusing everything that comes into its 4,100 American stores by 2025 and its British operations by 2010.