Lowe’s Home Center to pay damages for disposing of hazardous waste

lowes.improving32 other California district attorneys and two city attorneys, announced today that Alameda County Superior Court Judge George C. Hernandez, Jr. has ordered North Carolina-based Lowe’s Home Centers, LLC, to pay $18.1 million as part of a settlement of a civil environmental prosecution. The settlement is the culmination of  a civil enforcement action filed in Alameda County claiming that more than 118 Lowe’s stores throughout California unlawfully handled and disposed of various hazardous wastes and materials over a six and a half year period. Those hazardous wastes and materials included pesticides, aerosols, paint and colorants, solvents, adhesives, batteries, mercury-containing fluorescent bulbs, electronic waste and  other toxic, ignitable and corrosive materials.

From 2011 to 2013, inspectors from the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office Environmental Protection Division and investigators from the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, along with other district attorney investigators and environmental regulators statewide, conducted a series of waste inspections of dumpsters belonging to Lowe’s stores. The inspections revealed that Lowe’s was routinely and systematically sending hazardous wastes to local landfills throughout California that were not permitted to receive those wastes. The inspections also revealed that at some Lowe’s stores, instead of recycling batteries and compact fluorescent light bulbs that the company had gathered from customers at store recycling kiosks as part of a program to responsibly reduce waste, employees were unlawfully discarding these items directly to the trash.

Lowe’s operates three stores in Ventura County: in Oxnard, Simi Valley and Ventura. A March 20, 2012, audit of the waste of the Simi Valley Lowe’s store conducted by the Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten’s Office (VCDA), with the Ventura County Environmental  Health Division (VCEHD), found evidence of numerous items containing printed circuit boards, compact fluorescent light bulbs, lead acid batteries, paint waste and flammable adhesives.

Lowe’s was cooperative throughout the investigation and has adopted enhanced policies and procedures designed to eliminate the disposal of hazardous waste products in California. Under the final judgment, Lowe’s must pay $12.85 million in civil penalties and costs. An additional $2.075 million will fund supplemental environmental projects furthering consumer protection and environmental enforcement in California, and Lowe’s will fund hazardous waste minimization projects of $3.175 million. Under the final judgment,  civil penalties and costs will be recovered by VCDA in the amount of $158,500, by VCEHD in the amount of $85,100, and by the Oxnard Fire Department in the amount of $4,000. The retailer will also be bound under the terms of a permanent injunction prohibiting similar future violations of law.

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Bruce Boyer

Shakin down Lowes. It is all about the money! Can you believe it, a battery or paint can, a light-bulb, in the trash! These deadly items can be in our homes, but not in a land fill!There will be poison in the water! Just a way for the Tyrants to shake em down for the money!