News Releases

September 24, 2013: Rite Aid Corporation to Pay More than $12 Million for Unlawful Disposal of Hazardous Waste

Contact: 
Jean Guccione, Director of Communications
(213) 257-2000

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced today that the Rite Aid Corporation was ordered to pay more than $12.3 million to settle a civil lawsuit alleging that some 600 California Rite Aid stores unlawfully handled and disposed of hazardous materials.

The judgment marks the culmination of a joint environmental protection lawsuit filed in September 2013 by the district attorneys of Los Angeles, San Joaquin and Riverside counties. In all, 52 California district attorneys and two city attorneys joined the civil action.

“This settlement changes the long-standing practices of a major corporation that illegally transported and disposed of hazardous materials from hundreds of locations throughout California,” District Attorney Lacey said. “Making sure that hazardous waste is properly discarded will help keep our children safe and healthy for generations to come.”

San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Linda L. Lofthus on Tuesday ordered the Rite Aid Corporation to pay $12,324,000 to settle the environmental case.

Deputy District Attorney Daniel Wright of the Environmental Law Section said the case began with an investigation by local environmental health agencies in fall 2009. The investigation expanded when prosecutors, investigators and environmental regulators statewide came together to conduct a series of waste inspections at Rite Aid facilities and landfills throughout California.

The inspections revealed that Rite Aid transported hazardous waste and disposed of it in local landfills during a six-and-a-half year period. The hazardous products allegedly discarded included pesticides, bleach, paint, aerosols, automotive products and solvents, pharmaceutical and bio hazardous wastes and other toxic, ignitable and corrosive materials.

Under the final judgment, Rite Aid must pay $10.35 million in civil penalties and costs. Additionally, the Camp Hill, Pa.-based company must fund several environmental projects that further consumer protection and environmental enforcement in California.

Rite Aid will pay $332,000 in civil penalties and cost recovery to Los Angeles County environmental regulators and $1,325,000 in civil penalties and cost recovery to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for the enforcement of consumer protection laws.

A permanent injunction prohibits Rite Aid from reinstating the illegal practices. Rite Aid has cooperated with prosecutors and investigators throughout the case.

The company also adopted enhanced policies and procedures designed to eliminate the disposal of hazardous waste products in California.

Moving forward, stores will be required to retain their hazardous waste in segregated, labeled containers so as to minimize the risk of exposure to employees and customers and to ensure that incompatible wastes do not combine to cause dangerous chemical reactions.

California Rite Aid stores now work with state-registered haulers to document, collect and properly dispose of hazardous waste produced through damage, spills and returns. Moreover, Rite Aid has implemented a computerized scanning system and other environmental training to manage its waste.