Yolo County Superior Court Judge Samuel McAdam has ordered Tractor Supply Company and one of its subsidiaries to pay a $485,400 settlement in response to a civil environmental complaint by 36 district attorneys, including David A. Linn of Madera County.
According to the complaint, Tractor Supply and Petsense unlawfully handled and disposed of various hazardous wastes and materials throughout the state over a five-year period. The matter included pesticides, medications, batteries, ignitable liquids, and other flammable, reactive, toxic, and corrosive materials.
“Today’s settlement is another significant victory in our effort to make the environment cleaner and safer for the citizens of Madera County and throughout California,” said Linn. “The terms of this settlement will require these companies to improve the training of their staff and the monitoring and management of their hazardous waste.”
Investigators from district attorney offices and environmental regulators statewide conducted a series of undercover inspections of waste bins originating at Tractor Supply and Petsense stores. The inspections allegedly revealed that Tractor Supply and Petsense had mishandled their hazardous wastes. Regulators also found the documentation of employee hazardous-waste training to be incomplete.
The judgment, announced Thursday, requires Tractor Supply and Petsense to properly label, package, and store hazardous waste to minimize the risk of exposure to employees and customers, and to ensure that incompatible wastes do not combine to cause dangerous chemical reactions. The judgment also requires the retailers to properly document their hazardous waste and dispose of their hazardous waste at authorized disposal facilities.
Under the settlement, Tractor Supply and Petsense must pay $195,400 in civil penalties, $170,000 to reimburse the costs of the investigation, and $35,000 to fund supplemental environmental projects furthering consumer protection and environmental enforcement in California. Tractor Supply and Petsense must also hire an employee or a consultant to strengthen the companies’ hazardous-waste programs.
Tractor Supply and Petsense cooperated throughout the investigation and quickly responded to enhance their policies and procedures designed to eliminate the improper disposal of hazardous waste products in California stores.