Walmart Improperly Dumped Hazardous Waste in Missouri, Must Pay $82 Million

Categories: Environment, News

walmart-waste.jpg
via
Officials with Walmart pleaded guilty this week to mishandling hazardous materials at retail stores in Missouri and California -- and as a result will have to pay a total of more than $110 million in fines to resolve these cases. The company, authorities say, violated a slew of federal and state environmental laws.

"By improperly handling hazardous waste, pesticides and other materials in violation of federal laws, Wal-Mart put the public and the environment at risk and gained an unfair economic advantage over other companies," Ignacia Moreno, assistant attorney general for the justice department's environment and natural resources division says in a statement. "Today, Wal-Mart acknowledged responsibility for violations of federal laws and will pay significant fines and penalties, which will, in part, fund important environmental projects in the communities impacted by the violations and help prevent future harm to the environment."

What kind of violations occurred in Missouri?

See also:
- The Missouri People of Walmart (PHOTOS)
- Michelle Obama: First Lady Headed to Springfield Walmart
- The Walmart Shake and Bake Meth Lady Has Been Busted Again

On Tuesday, the company pleaded guilty in Kansas City to violating the so-called Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act by "failing to properly handle pesticides that had been returned by customers at its stores," the department of justice says in a news release.

The guilty plea this week comes after the department brought forward three criminal cases against Walmart -- in addition to a similar civil case filed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

walmart-file.jpg
via

The company, authorities say, did not have a program in place and failed to train employees on proper disposal practices for hazardous wastes:

As a result, hazardous wastes were either discarded improperly at the store level - including being put into municipal trash bins or, if a liquid, poured into the local sewer system - or they were improperly transported without proper safety documentation to one of six product return centers located throughout the United States.

Tammy Dickinson, U.S. attorney for the western district of Missouri, released this statement on the plea agreement:

This tough financial penalty holds Wal-Mart accountable for its reckless and illegal business practices that threatened both the public and the environment.

Truckloads of hazardous products, including more than 2 million pounds of pesticides, were improperly handled under Wal-Mart's contract. Today's criminal fine should send a message to companies of all sizes that they will be held accountable to follow federal environmental laws. Additionally, Wal-Mart's community service payment will fund important environmental projects in Missouri to help prevent such abuses in the future.

In the Missouri case, Walmart acknowledged that starting in 2006, it began sending damaged household products -- including regulated solid and liquid pesticides -- from six return centers to a Neosho-based recycling facility. There, products were processed for reuse and resale, but because employees didn't provide adequate oversight, "regulated pesticides were mixed together and offered for sale to customers without the required registration, ingredients, or use information," the department of justice says.

In Missouri, Walmart will pay a criminal fine of $11 million and another $3 million to the state department of natural resources. That funding will go to the agency's hazardous-waste program to be used for further inspections and education on pesticide regulations.

Walmart has already spent more than $3.4 million in the state to safely remove hazardous material from the Missouri recycling facility. The fines in both states add up to $81.6 million, authorities say, and given previous actions in Missouri and California, Walmart will eventually have paid a total of more than $110 million to fully resolve the various violations.

Continue for response from Walmart and for the full statements on the plea agreement.


My Voice Nation Help
22 comments
Rick Liljenberg
Rick Liljenberg

There doesn't have to be a victim for there to be a crime, dumb ass! There only has to be a crime scene, and there was.

Thaddeus Starbuckle
Thaddeus Starbuckle

I worked for walmart for three months. I have never hated myself more than I did while working at walmart. Fuck walmart.

Casey McBroom
Casey McBroom

Anne, who died or became sick as a result of Wal-Mart? Otherwise, it's a meaningless assertion. Without a clear victim, there was no crime. I would also like anyone reading to consider how poor life was and how few of people could survive prior pesticides and the like... G.M.O's and other things allowed humanity to go from under 2 billion to over 7 billion in little over a hundred years. When you set your moral standard apart from human life and justice, you allow any absurdity into the realm of dealing with other men. P.S. Name ONE person harmed... Otherwise, you have no valid argument.

Michael Simeone
Michael Simeone

The yearly environmental training employees must complete is a joke...its computer based and the answers are shared between employees.

Anne Spalding
Anne Spalding

There isn't anything to clean because TOXIC pesticide gets absorbed into the groundwater, soil, and our food. Toxins are not good for our body. One ounce of pesticide contaminates 7800 gallons of water. Pesticides kill people. That's why they must be disposed of properly.

Edwin Reese
Edwin Reese

I end up in a Walmart maybe twice a year, and I try to get in and out as fast as possible. Still, if I'm in there for 15 minutes, it's the worst 15 minutes of my day. Fuck Walmart.

Keith Siatkowski
Keith Siatkowski

Well said! I worked for Walmart for quite some time. The company forces its employees to go through training every year to prevent this kind of thing. They do everything they can to be responsible. I realize that it is popular to hate Walmart, but honestly, they treated me incredibly well when I worked for them and they are very vigiliant when it comes to being enviromentally responsible.

Jess Horsley
Jess Horsley

They're being fined $82 million...which is one day's profit. Seriously, I think we need to consider HOW monetary fines are imposed on big corporations. Does anyone really think an $82 million fine on Walmart will make them flinch or consider what they did as wrong? Put it this way: if a regular citizen making $40K a year did this, that'd mean they'd pay $110 for this horrendous act. Makes you think now, doesn't it??

Casey McBroom
Casey McBroom

Because there is nothing to clean. There isn't a victim. Our gov't just extorted money from one of the most successful companies in the country... That's it.

Casey McBroom
Casey McBroom

Let's everybody put this in a reality based perspective here.... 1) From what I read they were dumping (probably not often) consumer grade pesticides... And, that isn't much. 2) What actual effect did this have on the environment, and who was actually effected by it? 3) The fine is extremely excessive. You can talk about how Wal-Mart has the money, but tell me what Mom and Pop store could afford such a fine? Equal treatment my ass. 4) contrary to whatever b.s. is posted, this money will not go to any victim (if there actually was one, this is victimless as far as I see), and will line the pockets of an already bloated government. Wal-Mart is an American success story. Socialism and environmentalism are not! And, if the ecologists had it there way, they'd extinguish the first flame that took us out of the dark.

Michael Simeone
Michael Simeone

I hope Walmart fires the individuals responsible and a fine should also be imposed to them as well!

Forrest Roberts
Forrest Roberts

Did they sing that little shift-change cult song before the dumping?

Darrell Ford
Darrell Ford

Soooo if they raise the price of everything one cent, they will make that fine money back in a couple of days.

Brian Blood
Brian Blood

How about clean up the crap they dumped and not just a fine.

Mary Poletti
Mary Poletti

I don't trust Walmart any further than I can throw it. And with my sore back, I really shouldn't be throwing a store.

Now Trending

St. Louis Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...