Retail chain settles suit with Riverside, other counties

RIVERSIDE – The parent company of the Dollar General retail chain reached a legal settlement with Riverside and 31 other California counties in a case involving allegations of improper disposal of hazardous wastes, it was announced Monday, April 17.

Goodlettsville, Tennessee-based Dolgen California and its subsidiaries, DG Strategic II and DG Strategic VII, will pay $1.12 million to end litigation stemming from the civil suit over alleged violations of regulations related to the disposal of batteries, automotive fluids, aerosol cans and a variety of other corrosive wastes, according to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

Riverside County’s end of the settlement comes to roughly $19,000, the District Attorney’s Office reported. There are 0 Dollar General outlets in the county, according to the company’s website.

In addition to the penalties and investigative reimbursement amounts paid by Dolgen California, the company also acquiesced to a permanent injunction under which all Dollar General stores will follow new policies regarding how to appropriately dispose of hazardous products and label them in such a way that they pose the least risk to employees and patrons.

Kern County Superior Court Judge Sidney Chapin signed off on the settlement last week.

According to Riverside County prosecutors, Dollar General stores came under scrutiny by state environmental inspectors five years ago after it was learned outlets were not adhering to disposal regulations.

“Dollar General stores and their distribution center had been routinely and systematically sending hazardous wastes to local landfills throughout California that were not permitted to receive those wastes,” according to a D.A.’s office statement. “Regulators also found the documentation of employee hazardous waste training to be inaccurate or incomplete.”

A formal civil complaint was filed against Dolgen California and its subsidiaries April 11, and the defendants “quickly responded” to the lawsuit, entering into a settlement agreement with all 32 counties collectively involved in the filing, according to the D.A.’s office.

Prosecutors said that, from this point on, hazardous wastes originating from Dollar General stores will be retrieved by state-registered haulers that will document, transport and discard the materials at designated facilities.

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