Los Angeles-based 99 Cents Only Stores will pay more than $2 million to settle retail hazardous waste disposal violations in California.
Under the settlement, approved Jan. 6 by a San Joaquin County Superior Court judge, the company must pay $1.8 million in civil penalties, $312,500 in costs and $250,000 in supplemental environmental projects. The settlement also requires 99 Cents Only Stores to implement enhanced environmental compliance efforts.
An investigation into the company’s storage, handling and disposal of hazardous and pharmaceutical waste products into trash bins at each of the 251 stores and distribution centers in California found that instead of being sent to authorized disposal sites, hazardous waste and other contaminated materials were allegedly being unlawfully transported to area landfills.
Upon being notified by prosecutors of the issues, 99 Cents Only Stores worked cooperatively to remedy the issue and train its employees to properly handle hazardous waste, according to the Los Angeles city attorney’s office, which, along with 29 California district and city attorneys prosecuted the case.
The hazardous waste is now being collected by state-registered haulers, taken to proper disposal facilities and properly documented and accounted for, the LA city attorney says.
As a result of the prosecution and settlement, California 99 Cents Only Stores have also adopted new waste management policies and procedures designed to eliminate the disposal of retail hazardous waste products and pharmaceutical waste into store trash bins for eventual disposal into local landfills, not equipped to handle such wastes.
Also this week, Safeway agreed to pay $9.87 million to 41 California counties and cities for illegally disposing of household chemicals and medicines from more than 500 stores and distribution centers over a period of seven years.