Albertsons supermarket chain has agreed to pay $3.3 million to settle allegations that its California stores illegally dumped hazardous waste, including batteries, pool chemicals and over-the-counter medication.
Idaho-based Albertsons did not acknowledge any wrongdoing, but did agree to reform waste management practices at its 118 California stores.
The settlement was announced June 24 by the various government agencies that sued the chain in Orange County Superior Court. Prosecutors alleged the grocery stores disposed of hazardous products in dumpsters or transported the products to third-party waste processors that were not authorized to handle the material.
In addition to paying the $3.3 million, Albertsons has agreed to establish a computerized waste management system, conduct internal audits and train employees on handling hazardous waste. The chain must also deliver progress reports to local agencies for the next five years.
In contrast, in recent years individual Albertsons stores in California have been recognized for their environmental efforts, such as receiving an EPA GreenChill Environmental Achievement Award for using more environmentally friendly refrigerants at a store in Carpinteria, achieving zero-waste classifications at two stores in Santa Barbara, and activating solar panels at stores in Carlsbad, Oceanside and Alpine.