LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A judge has ordered Rite Aid Corporation to pay more than $12.3 million stemming from a civil lawsuit alleging some 600 California stores dumped hazardous waste in local landfills, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced Tuesday.
The judgment orders the Camp Hill, Pa.-based corporation to pay $10.35 million in penalties and costs stemming from an investigation that began in the fall of 2009 by local environmental health agencies.
The case grew to include a series of waste inspections at Rite Aid facilities and landfills throughout the state involving prosecutors, investigators and state environmental regulators, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
The joint investigation found Rite Air transported hazardous waste to local landfills over a six-and-a-half year period and unlawfully disposed of the materials.
Pesticides, bleach, paint, aerosols, automotive products and solvents, pharmaceutical and bio hazardous waste, and other materials described by the District Attorney as “toxic, ignitable and corrosive materials,” were allegedly among the waste.
The company will also pay an estimated $1.9 million for environmental projects in California designed to further consumer protection and environmental enforcement, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Statewide, 52 district attorneys and two city attorneys joined the environmental protection lawsuit filed by the district attorneys of Los Angeles, San Joaquin and Riverside counties in September.
Rite Aid Corp. cooperated with investigators and prosecutors throughout the case and has adopted policies and procedures designed to prevent the disposal of hazardous waste in California, the District Attorney’s Office said.
Stores are now required to keep hazardous waste separated in labeled containers and work with state-registered haulers to record, collect and dispose of hazardous materials.