Rite Aid Fined $12.3 Million for Illegal Dumping

     LOS ANGELES (CN) - Rite Aid will pay $12.3 million to settle claims that 600 of its California stores illegally dumped pesticides, bleach, paint, aerosols, solvents, pharmaceuticals and other waste into landfills.
     Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey said the settlement resulted from state prosecutors' efforts in Los Angeles, San Joaquin and Riverside counties.
     "This settlement changes the long-standing practices of a major corporation that illegally transported and disposed of hazardous materials from hundreds of locations throughout California," Lacey said in a statement.
     San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Linda Lofthus on Tuesday ordered Rite Aid to pay $12,324,000.
     Environmental health officials began investigating Rite Aid in 2009, then regulators and prosecutors led statewide inspections of Rite Aid facilities and landfills.
     "The inspections revealed that Rite Aid transported hazardous waste and disposed of it in local landfills during a six-and-a-half year period," the District Attorney's Office said in a statement. The hazardous products included "toxic, ignitable and corrosive materials."
     Lofthus also ordered Rite Aid to fund environmental projects in California, and establish tougher standards to ensure lawful waste management waste and disposal. It also must clearly label and separate containers of hazardous waste.
     Rite Aid will pay $10.35 million in civil penalties. Of that, $332,000 will go to Los Angeles County environmental regulators, and $1,325,000 to the District Attorney's Office for the enforcement of consumer protection laws.
     Rite Aid did not respond to a request for comment.