Raley’s has agreed to pay about $1.6 million to settle a hazardous waste disposal lawsuit.
The judgment is the result of a civil enforcement lawsuit filed in San Joaquin County to stop the supermarket chain from unlawfully transporting and disposing of retail hazardous waste, according to 26 California district attorneys who announced the settlement. The lawsuit alleged that more than 130 Raley’s supermarket stores improperly stored, handled and disposed of hazardous waste and pharmaceutical waste products into company trash bins. Instead of being sent to proper disposal sites, hazardous wastes were being unlawfully transported to area landfills.
Additionally, the lawsuit alleged that Raley’s failed to take sufficient steps to preserve the confidentiality of their pharmacy customers’ information.
As a result of the prosecution, Raley’s business locations modified existing policies and have adopted new policies designed to eliminate the unlawful disposal of retail hazardous waste products and pharmaceutical waste into store trash compactors. These enhanced controls on the hazardous waste produced by California Raley’s supermarkets through damage, spills and occasionally customer returns has helped ensure current compliance throughout their market area.
In addition to devoting resources to California environmental compliance with regard to hazardous waste identification, classification, storage, transportation and disposal, as part of this settlement, Raley’s has agreed to purchase five mobile freshwater purification systems to provide safe drinking water to local communities in the State of California in times of emergency or other pressing need. The mobile freshwater purification systems will be located in Placer, El Dorado, Sonoma, Sacramento and Contra Costa counties, but will be available for use by other counties within the state.
The Raley’s settlement follows similar lawsuits against other retailers doing business in California.
Last year Walmart agreed to pay about $82 million after pleading guilty to illegally handling and disposing of hazardous waste at its retail stores across the US. Coupled with previous actions brought by the states of California and Missouri for the same conduct, Walmart paid a combined total of more than $110 million to resolve cases alleging violations of federal and state environmental laws.
In September, Rite Aid agreed to pay more than $12.3 million to settle a civil lawsuit that alleged 600 of its California stores improperly dumped hazardous waste in local landfills.
In April, Lowe’s Home Centers agreed to pay $18.1 million to settle similar claims and in June, Albertsons 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.