Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, together with 29 California District and City Attorneys, recently announced that San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Bob McNatt has approved a settlement with Los Angeles-based 99 Cents Only Stores LLC that includes over $2 million in civil penalties and costs, supplemental environmental projects and enhanced environmental compliance efforts.
“This judgment protects the environment and public health,” said Feuer. “And it demonstrates the strong commitment of prosecutors and environmental agencies throughout California to enforce our hazardous waste laws.”
Under the settlement, which includes a final judgment and permanent injunction against 99 Cents Only Stores, the corporation must pay $1.8 million in civil penalties, $312,500 in costs and $250,000 in supplemental environmental projects. Under the terms of the settlement, 99 Cents Only Stores also must implement certain enhanced compliance efforts.
The judgment is the culmination of a civil enforcement investigation into 99 Cents Only Stores’ improper storage, handling, and disposal of hazardous and pharmaceutical waste products into company trash bins at each of the 251 stores and distribution centers in California. Instead of being sent to authorized disposal sites, hazardous waste and other contaminated materials were allegedly being unlawfully transported to area landfills. Upon being notified by prosecutors of the widespread issues, 99 Cents Only Stores worked cooperatively to remedy the issue and train its employees to properly handle hazardous wastes being generated through damage, spills and returns. The hazardous waste is now being collected by state-registered haulers, taken to proper disposal facilities and properly documented and accounted for.
As a result of the prosecution and settlement, California 99 Cents Only Stores have also adopted new policies and procedures designed to eliminate the disposal of retail hazardous waste products and pharmaceutical waste into store trash bins for eventual disposal into local landfills that are not equipped to handle such wastes.
Deputy City Attorney Jessica Brown prosecuted the case for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.