"SAN DIEGO — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has agreed to pay $27.6 million to settle allegations that it improperly handled and dumped hazardous waste at stores across California in a case that led to changes in the retailer's practices nationwide, prosecutors said Monday.
The settlement ends a five-year investigation involving more than 20 prosecutors and 32 environmental groups. The lawsuit alleged that each of the company's 236 stores and distribution centers across California, including Sam's Club warehouse stores, were in violation of environmental laws and regulations, said San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.
Wal-Mart was accused of improperly disposing of pesticide, fertilizer, paint, aerosols and other chemicals. In one case, Dumanis said a Solano County boy was found playing in a mound of fertilizer near a Walmart garden section. The yellow-tinted powder contained ammonium sulfate, a chemical compound that causes irritation to people's skin, eyes and respiratory tract."