MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. - Home Depot has been ordered to pay $27.84 million to resolve allegations that 300 of its California stores illegally disposed hazardous waste and confidential customer records.
According to the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office, two stores in Monterey County were part of the civil complaint.
“The civil complaint filed by the prosecutors alleged that more than 300 Home Depot stores and distribution centers throughout the state were routinely and systematically sending hazardous wastes to local landfills that were not permitted to receive those wastes and were tossing documents containing sensitive customer information into store trash bins, potentially exposing the information to identity thieves,” said the DA’s Office.
For years, investigators conducted a series of waste inspections of dumpsters belonging to Home Depot stores. A total of 45 trash compactors belonging to 31 Home Depot stores were inspected and the inspection revealed that all 45 compactors had hazardous waste and sensitive customer information.
The hazardous waste included, pesticides, aerosols, paint and colorants, solvents, adhesives, batteries, mercury-containing fluorescent bulbs, electronic waste, key shavings and other toxic, ignitable and corrosive materials. Customer information included customer names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses.
After the investigation, Home Depot conducted dozens of its own compactor waste inspections, and placed customer records in lock boxes. The home improvement store has also committed to employing hazardous waste compliance managers.
The chain must pay $18.5 million in civil penalties and costs plus an additional $2.5 million to fund environmental projects. Home Depot will be required to expend at least $6.84 million compliance environmental measures.