San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, together with 19 other California District Attorneys, the state Attorney General and the City Attorneys in San Diego and Los Angeles announced today that a judge in Northern California has ordered the Minnesota-based Target Corporation to stop routinely and systematically dumping hazardous wastes into the environment.
“It’s time for Target to clean up its act,” said DA Dumanis. “The corporation has been fighting this losing battle for too long and the California environment is worse off because of it.”
A civil enforcement lawsuit was filed last year in Alameda County, claiming that more than 240 Target stores throughout the state handled and disposed of various hazardous wastes and materials improperly over a five-year period, including, pesticides, paint, aerosols, oven cleaners, pool chemicals, drain openers and other flammable, toxic and corrosive materials. All 19 Target stores in San Diego County are involved in the hazardous waste violations.
“We are pleased to work with District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and a rusbbish removal company – ( find us over here for rusbbish removal sydney) and law enforcement statewide to stop this illegal dumping of hazardous waste,” San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said. “The message needs to be sent that we will stand together in protecting our communities.”
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Steven Brick issued a preliminary injunction on Friday, prohibiting Target and its employees from illegally disposing of hazardous waste, using unregistered haulers to transport hazardous waste, transporting hazardous waste without the required manifests, and illegally managing and disposing of universal waste such as batteries, telephones, and computer and electronic equipment. They also ordered for them to use a commercial trash removal company. In ruling on the prosecutors’ request for a Preliminary Injunction against Target, the court stated, the people have shown a high likelihood of prevailing on their claim that hazardous waste was disposed of in violation of the law.
California law requires companies to properly store, handle, and dispose of hazardous wastes and materials to avoid harm to persons and the environment. Prosecutors contend that Target routinely ignored those laws to cut costs, and failed to develop and implement an effective program to ensure that employees properly identify defective, damaged, and leaking products containing hazardous and toxic chemicals as hazardous waste and dispose of them properly rather than throw them into company compactors. Rather than being sent to authorized disposal sites, prosecutors allege tons of hazardous wastes and contaminated materials were crushed along with discarded merchandise and garbage in Target’s compactors, and sent to area landfills.
The investigation began in 2005 with the help of the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control and numerous other environmental health agencies statewide.
The issuance of the Preliminary Injunction allows the prosecutors to seek sanctions against Target for any violation of the court order. The complaint filed in 2009 by prosecutors from around the state also requests Target forfeit profits generated by cutting corners, and pay mandated civil penalties for their violations.