Wal-Mart's Toxic Waste Dumping in Foothill Ranch Cited in Settlement
Something's rotten in Denmark and Foothill Ranch.
Toxic fertilizer dumped behind the Foothill Ranch Wal-Mart store was cited in today's announcement that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. agreed to a $20 million-plus settlement with 20 prosecutorial agencies, including the Orange County District Attorney's Office, over the illegal transportation and disposal of hazardous, toxic waste and materials.
"This settlement is one of the largest environmental protection cases in California's history," according to an OCDA statement.
But Wal-Mart did not admit to fault or liability when it came to the improper handling and dumping of hazardous waste--including pesticides, chemicals, paints, aerosols, acid, fertilizer, and motor oil--from its 236 California-based Wal-Mart and Sam's Club locations.
According to the OCDA statement:
Specific to Orange County, Walmart was found to have dumped expired toxic fertilizer in a large planter behind a Walmart location in Foothill Ranch. This planter measured 10 feet by 200 feet and backed up to the 241 Toll Road. This fertilizer was determined to be hazardous and had entered a storm drain due to rain and the illegal disposal. The fertilizer was tested and deemed to be toxic hazardous waste, making it potentially dangerous to people, animals, and the environment.
Under the terms of the settlement signed today in San Diego Superior Court, Wal-Mart agreed not to do that in Foothill Ranch or anywhere else in California again. Employees are also to be trained to recognize and properly identify and handle hazardous materials under the pact.
Wal-Mart agreed to pay $20 million in penalties, which will be distributed between the 20 prosecuting agencies and 32 environmental health agencies involved in the investigation. The superstore chain also agreed to part with $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.