Crime, Fire + Courts

Raley’s pays $1.6 million to settle hazardous-waste lawsuit

Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig, along with 25 other California district attorneys, announced Monday that Raley’s Supermarkets has been ordered to pay nearly $1.6 million in civil penalties, costs and environmental project funding, as part of the settlement stemming from reported hazardous-waste violations.

The $1,599,000 judgment and permanent injunction by a Northern California judge is the result of a civil enforcement lawsuit filed in San Joaquin County to stop the West Sacramento-based supermarket chain from unlawfully transporting and disposing of retail hazardous waste.

The lawsuit alleged that more than 130 Raley’s stores improperly stored, handled and disposed of hazardous waste and pharmaceutical waste products into company trash bins, then transported them to area landfills instead of sending them to proper disposal sites.

Additionally, the lawsuit alleged that Raley’s failed to take sufficient steps to preserve the confidentiality of its pharmacy customers’ information.

As a result of the prosecution, Raley’s business locations modified existing policies and have adopted new policies designed to eliminate the unlawful disposal of retail hazardous waste products and pharmaceutical waste into store trash compactors.

These enhanced controls on the hazardous waste produced by California Raley’s supermarkets through damage, spills and occasional customer returns, has helped ensure current compliance throughout their market area, company officials said.

Reisig noted that Raley’s, a “valued merchant in Yolo County for many years,” cooperated with the case’s prosecution team throughout the investigation to reach a fair outcome.

In addition to devoting resources to California environmental compliance with hazardous waste identification, classification, storage, transportation and disposal, as part of the settlement Raley’s has agreed to purchase five mobile freshwater purification systems to provide safe drinking water to local California communities in times of emergency or other pressing need.

The mobile freshwater purification systems will be located in Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado, Contra Costa and Sonoma counties, but will be available for use by other counties in the state.

Special to The Enterprise

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