Wal-Mart agrees to $20M settlement in hazardous waste case

SANTA ANA – The Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced today it reached a $20 million settlement against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. for the illegal transportation and disposal of hazardous, toxic waste and materials.

Walmart has agreed to pay $20 million in penalties, in addition to $1.6 million to cover the cost of the investigation, $3 million for Supplemental Environmental Projects for future prosecution, investigation, and regulation of cases, and at least $3 million in compliance-keeping measures for its California-based stores, said a spokesperson with the OCDA's office.

The case was prosecuted by the state Attorney General’s Office along with 19 state D. A.’s Offices. The settlement represents one of the largest environmental protection cases in state history, officials said.

Prosecutors alleged that Walmart, who has not admitted fault or liability, improperly handled and dumped hazardous waste including pesticides, chemicals, paints, aerosols, acid, fertilizer, and motor oil from its 236 California-based Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores.

According to the complaint, the hazardous waste was generated at multiple statewide Walmart locations and dumped or transported to a central location without proper authorization or management as required by law, prosecutors said.

Investigators determined Walmart had dumped expired toxic fertilizer behind a Walmart location in Foothill Ranch, an OCDA spokesperson said.

The terms of the settlement include: