Illegal dumping has Walgreens paying millions
SAN DIEGO — Walgreens agreed to pay $16.57 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that more than 600 of its stores in California — including 36 in San Diego — unlawfully handled and disposed of pesticides, paints and other hazardous materials for more than six years, it was announced Thursday.
The judgment is the result of a civil enforcement lawsuit filed in Alameda County in June by the district attorneys in Alameda, Riverside, San Joaquin, Solano, Monterrey and Yolo counties, and the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.
The hazardous wastes included pesticides, bleach, paint, aerosols, automotive products and other toxic, ignitable and corrosive materials.
The settlement also resolves allegations that Walgreens unlawfully disposed of customer records containing confidential medical information.
“Protecting consumer information and safely handling dangerous waste is paramount for all businesses in California,” San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said.
In the summer and fall of 2011, investigators conducted a series of waste inspections of garbage bins at Walgreens stores. The inspections showed that Walgreens employees routinely and systematically put hazardous materials in bins dumped at local landfills and failed to ensure the privacy of medical information belonging to customers.