Alameda County District Attorney's Office
Nancy E. O'Malley, District Attorney

Meet DA Nancy E. O'Malley

$3.6 Million Dollar Settlement in Environmental Action Against Costco

OAKLAND -- Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley announced today that her office, together with 28 other California District Attorneys, has filed and settled a $3.6 million civil law enforcement action against Costco Wholesale Corporation. The civil action was filed in Alameda County Superior Court and the settlement resolves allegations that Costco violated California laws for the safe storage, handling and disposal of pharmaceutical and pharmacy waste as well as other hazardous waste.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office teamed up with the other DA offices as part of a joint investigation and prosecution to address statewide violations of law after San Joaquin County inspectors found evidence of improper storage, handling and disposal of hazardous waste and pharmaceutical waste products at Costco stores. Upon notification of the investigation, Costco officials cooperated with prosecutors and quickly came into compliance with hazardous waste management regulations.

The violations occurred over a five-year period at numerous Costco stores and distribution stores statewide, including five stores in Alameda County.

“My Office’s Environmental Protection Division is dedicated to ensuring that business operating in Alameda County comply with the law,” says DA O’Malley. “As a result of this investigation and prosecution, regulated waste produced by Costco stores in California must now be properly stored, handled, transported and disposed of.”

Under the final judgment signed on Friday, June 1, 2012 by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Winifred Smith, Costco must pay $3.6 million in civil penalties and costs. It also funds supplemental environmental projects furthering consumer protection and environmental enforcement in California. The retailer will be bound under the terms of a permanent injunction prohibiting similar future alleged violations of law.

The prosecutor was Senior DDA Ken Mifsud.

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Posted on Jun 20, 2012