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Wal-Mart Settles Enviro Case for $27.6M

(CN) - Wal-Mart will pay $27.6 million to settle claims that it improperly transported, stored and dumped pollutants like pesticides, aerosols and other chemicals, prosecutors announced Monday.

The settlement, signed by Superior Court Judge Linda Quinn, comes after the San Diego County district attorney's office and California's attorney general sued in April, claiming that all of Wal-Mart's 236 stores, Sam's Club stores and other facilities violated environmental laws.

The lawsuit was brought on when an investigator from San Diego's Department of Environmental Health saw a Wal-Mart worker dumping bleach down a drain.

The lawsuit claimed the shopping chain improperly transported, stored and dumped pesticides, paint, aerosols, fertilizer and motor oil, The Los Angeles Times reported.

"This settlement ensures that Wal-Mart obeys the laws when shipping potentially hazardous materials on our streets and highways," Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley told the Times.

As part of the settlement, $20 million will be split among prosecutors in 20 jurisdictions and 32 California environmental agencies. Another $1.6 million will cover the cost of the investigation, while $3 million will pay for future environmental investigations. Another $3 million will go toward keeping stores in check, the Times reported.

"It's important to note that these incidents happened at least four years ago," Wal-Mart Vice President Phyllis Harris said in a statement. "Since then, we have worked closely with the state of California on a comprehensive hazardous waste plan that includes improved training programs, policies and procedures."

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