Rite Aid Corp. was ordered today to pay more than $12.3 million to settle a lawsuit that alleged employees at about 600 California stores – including those in San Diego County – unlawfully handled and disposed of hazardous materials, such as bleaches and pesticides, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said.
The judgment requires Rite Aid Corp. to pay $10.35 million in penalties and costs, including $1.325 million to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office, according to Lacey. The company, based in Camp Hill, Pa., will also pay about $1.9 million for environmental projects that further consumer protection and environmental enforcement in the state, according to the DA’s office.
San Diego County environmental regulators will receive $285,000 as part of the settlement, according to the judgment. The San Diego County District Attorney’s office, which joined the suit, will receive $235,000, and the San Diego City Attorney’s office will receive $75,000.
The settlement marks the culmination of an environmental protection lawsuit filed by 52 district attorneys from around the state and two city attorneys, including San Diego’s, according to the judgment.
The case began with an investigation in the fall of 2009 by local environmental health agencies and expanded with a series of waste inspections at Rite Aid facilities and landfills across the state, according to the Los Angeles DA’s office.
The products allegedly discarded included pesticides, bleach, paint, aerosols, automotive products and solvents, pharmaceutical and bio-hazardous wastes and other toxic, ignitable and corrosive materials.
Rite Aid Corp. now is now working with state-registered haulers to document, collect and dispose of hazardous waste produced through damage, spills and returns, and has implemented a computerized scanning system and other environmental training to manage its waste, according to the LA DA.
City News Service contributed to this article.