Albertsons will pay $3.3 million to settle a lawsuit alleging the grocery chain illegally transported, stored and disposed of hazardous waste at its stores and distribution centers, prosecutors announced today.
Prosecutors in Riverside, Orange, San Diego, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, along with the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office, alleged in a lawsuit that Albertsons mismanaged hazardous waste, including over-the-counter medications, pharmaceuticals, aerosol products, ignitable liquids, batteries, electronic devices, pool chemicals and other products.
The lawsuit alleged that the products were routinely illegally disposed of in trash bins or transferred to a third-party processor that was not certified to handle hazardous wastes.
In addition to the penalties and litigation costs, the settlement calls for Albertsons to develop compliance efforts beyond legal requirements for hazardous-waste handling, including the implementation of a computerized hazardous-waste classification system, employee training and regular progress reports to the prosecuting agencies.
The grocer did not admit any wrongdoing in connection with the settlement, which was filed in Orange County Superior Court. In a statement posted on its website, the company insisted it complies with state and federal laws for hazardous waste.
"When we have to dispose of those products, we have procedures in place to properly handle and transport them, which we have continually worked to improve into the comprehensive program for handling hazardous waste that has been in place since 2012," according to the company. "Improving our policies, practices and procedures for handling hazardous waste is a matter of corporate responsibility and pride. We've worked hard to get better.
"We believe in leaving this planet better than when we found it, and we know that how we handle the waste that our locations can produce can contribute positively toward that goal."
--City News Service