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Home Depot

Los Angeles, CA: (Aug-17-07) The state of California and Los Angeles County prosecutors brought a civil lawsuit against Home Depot, alleging that the retailer failed to properly store and transport hazardous sludge. The suit stemmed from an incident when a 55-gallon drum at Home Depot's Marina Del Rey store blew up in 2004, causing a fire and an evacuation of customers and employees. Investigators later discovered that chemicals were mixed together into an explosive brew. Following the explosion, a waste hauler contracted by Home Depot was stopped by the California Highway Patrol in the town of Ripon in San Joaquin County. The truck was not certified by the state. Government agencies, including the state attorney general's office and prosecutors in Riverside, Santa Clara, San Joaquin and Monterey counties, then began in investigation.

The investigation concluded that Home Depot routinely collected hazardous waste accumulated at its stores across California and placed them in large buckets for offsite disposal. The suit further alleged that haulers sometimes improperly stored and labeled the waste and did not keep good records of materials about to be transported.

In a settlement reached, Home Depot agreed to pay nearly $10 million to settle the civil case filed by state and Los Angeles County prosecutors. Of the total penalty to be paid by Home Depot, the District Attorney's office will get $837,000 in civil penalties and costs. The Los Angeles County Fire Department will get $250,000. [LOS ANGELES TIMES: TOXIC SLUDGE]

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Published on Aug-20-07


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