RANCHO CUCAMONGA – The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office announced a $3.5 million judgment against Big Lots Stores, Inc. for the unlawful disposal of hazardous waste. The Ohio-based company Big Lots Stores, Inc. and its subsidiary corporations, that own and operate the Big Lots store and a Rancho Cucamonga distribution center, were ordered to pay $3,507,500 in civil penalties, costs, and supplemental environmental projects.
The case stemmed from an allegation that Big Lots Stores’ unlawfully disposed of hazardous waste at the stores and distribution center. “The hazardous waste included ignitable and corrosive liquids, toxic materials, batteries, electronic devices and other e-waste,” Deputy DA Lough said. “In some instances, the hazardous waste was the result of overstock or expired merchandise. In others, it was the result of spills, damaged containers, and customer returns.”
The hazardous waste was put into trash bins at the 206 California stores. Rather than being disposed of at hazardous waste facilities, the waste was thrown into the trash, which illegally went into local landfills.”Companies that deal with hazardous waste are expected to fully comply with the rules and regulations that are meant to protect our citizens and the environment,” District Attorney Mike Ramos said. “Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit, we were able to once again hold another corporation accountable for their negligent actions and bring them into compliance with California’s environmental laws.”
Big Lots was informed of the allegations early-on and according to District Attorney officials, they have been cooperative throughout the investigation. The settlement includes $2,017,500 in civil penalties, $335,250 to reimburse investigation costs, $350,000 will fund supplemental environmental enforcement and consumer protection in the State of California. In addition to these costs, Big Lots will be responsible for funding hazardous waste minimization and enhancing compliance projects in the dollar amount of $803,750.
Big Lots has now adopted and implemented new policies and procedures to properly dispose of hazardous waste.
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