OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Ross Stores will pay $3.3 million to settle allegations it disposed of hazardous wastes illegally, Alameda County prosecutors announced Wednesday.
A civil enforcement action was filed Nov. 20 in Monterey County alleging that in a seven-year period more than 441 Ross and dd's Discounts stores in California handled and disposed of hazardous wastes and materials illegally.
Nineteen Ross stores in Alameda County are subject to the settlement.
"It is vital that any company doing business in California abide by our environmental protection laws," Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said in a statement.
Inspectors from three district attorney's offices in California allegedly found that between 2014 and 2017 Ross was sending hazardous wastes to landfills that couldn't handle those wastes.
Prosecutors said Ross cooperated in the investigation and has implemented policies and procedures to end the disposal of hazardous wastes in the state.
Hazardous wastes produced at stores in California through spills, damage or returns is now taken by state-registered haulers to appropriate disposal sites, documented and accounted for, according to prosecutors.
The $3.3 million judgment consists of $2.55 million in penalties, $340,000 in supplemental environmental projects and $445,000 to reimburse prosecutors for the investigation and enforcement.
Ross will pay $600,000 less if it takes on at least $1.2 million in environmental enhancement work that is not required by law.
Ross is also required submit to waste audits and employ someone to oversee its hazardous waste compliance program.
The action against Ross was led by prosecutors in Alameda, Monterey, San Joaquin, Yolo, and Riverside counties and consisted of prosecutors from 34 other counties and two city attorney's offices in California.
A spokeswoman for Ross did not respond by mid-Thursday afternoon to a request for a comment. Ross Stores is based in Delaware.
Wednesday's announcement follows a similar settlement announced last month by O'Malley's office involving Bed Bath & Beyond. In that case, the retailer announced it would pay $1.49 million to settle illegal dumping allegations.
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