Lowe’s to pay $18 million in settlement of toxic waste lawsuit

Solvents, pesticides, batteries and aerosols.

These are just some of the “toxic, ignitable and corrosive materials” that were being sent to landfills from more than 100 Lowe’s stores in California, including one in San Francisco on Bayshore Boulevard, according to prosecutors.

Now the company has agreed to pay $18.1 million as part of a settlement of a civil environmental lawsuit, according to an announcement Wednesday by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, 31 other district attorneys and two city attorneys.

An Alameda County Superior Court judge issued the judgment after the civil enforcement action was filed claiming 118 Lowe’s home improvement stores in California illegally disposed of hazardous waste over a six-year period. Thousands of items were disposed of over a five-year period at The City’s Bayview store and then taken to landfills, according to the District Attorneys Office.

“The dangers inherent in dumping hazardous waste cannot be overstated; it is absolutely essential that we protect our environment for future generations,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “Those who would jeopardize our environment are on notice — they will be held liable.”

A joint investigation with state regulators and the District Attorney’s Office, which took place from 2011 to 2013, found that the company was “systematically sending hazardous wastes to local landfills,” according to the district attorney. The materials, instead of being sorted and properly disposed of, were found in store dumpsters by investigators, the district attorney said.

The company’s website states: “Operating our business more sustainably means considering the environmental impacts of operations in Lowe’s stores, offices and supply chains and considering the lifecycle impact of the products and services used and sold.”

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