The national shopping chain conglomerate Walmart reached a record settlement yesterday in the San Diego originating case that accused employees of illegally dumping hazardous chemicals into area drains, trash compactors and more. The company will pay $27 million in fines after illegally mishandling paint, fertilizer, motor oil, bleach and more in the area. The investigation began in April 2005 when an off-duty San Diego County Department of Environmental Health witnessed an employee dumping bleach into a drain; before too long federal state and local investigators started the process. In April 2010 the state attorney general and San Diego County district attorney, reports NBC San Diego, filed a civil suit for 236 Walmarts and Sam’s Clubs were violating the laws here in California.
The settlement was reached Monday, and will give $3 million of its total for “supplemental environmental projects benefiting prosecutors, investigators and regulators.” According to Walmart’s environmental affair’s specialist Phyllis Harris, who is based in Bentonville, Arkansas, improvements have already been made to comply with California’s laws. “We’re a better company today as a result of these programs,” Harris said in the company’s press statement following the procedures. The retail giant wants consumers to know that the investigations began several years ago and they have since changed their processes.
All of San Diego stores were part of the investigation, as one of El Cajon’s was the initial store that sparked the investigation. 42 more California counties were also part of the investigation.