SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) – Home improvement chain Home Depot agreed to pay a $27.8 settlement Thursday to resolve claims it illegally disposed of hazardous waste and customer information at stores and facilities across California.
The settlement of the lawsuit filed in Alameda County Superior Court comes after state and local environmental health investigators inspected trash dumpsters belonging to Home Depot between 2013 and 2015. Each inspection uncovered instances of illegal disposal of hazardous waste including batteries, aerosol cans, paint and electronic devices.
In a statement, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra said skirting waste-disposal laws gave Home Depot a “competitive advantage over other regulated entities” that complied with the law.
“At the California Department of Justice, we take seriously our obligation to protect the health and well-being of our communities. That is why we are holding Home Depot accountable,” Becerra said.
In an emailed statement, Home Depot spokesman Matt Harrigan said the retailer is “pleased to have settled this and we remain committed to the responsible disposal of waste.”
Becerra’s office said Home Depot also discarded customer records without destroying or altering personal information to make it unreadable.
Regarding compliance with state regulations, Harrigan said Home Depot will “continue to work with California officials to that end.”
While Home Depot does not acknowledge wrongdoing in the settlement, it must submit a “status report” to the state in six months.
As part of the settlement, Home Depot will pay $16,637,000 in civil penalties, $2,513,000 for projects furthering environmental protection, and $1,850,000 for reimbursement of law enforcement and investigation costs.
Home Depot will also spend $6,840,000 on “environmental compliance activities” and is permanently barred from similar violations of law.