FAIRFIELD — Two years of environmental inspectors rooting through trash bins at Lowe’s stores throughout California followed by a lawsuit filed last week by prosecutors in four counties – including Solano County – resulted in Lowe’s agreeing to pay authorities $18.1 million.
Solano County prosecutors and the health department will receive $953,000 of the settlement, according to Deputy District Attorney Criselda B. Gonzalez.
Lowe’s, a North Carolina-based corporation, cooperated throughout the investigation and has already changed policies and procedures in response to what investigators found, according to a press release issued Wednesday.
Environmental inspectors discovered Lowe’s employees were disposing of paint, pesticides, batteries, fluorescent light bulbs and other toxic materials by putting them into trash bins. At some Lowe’s stores, employees at special recycling kiosks built for customers to drop off batteries and light bulbs were taking what was collected and then dumping it into trash bins with the rest of the store’s trash, according to the lawsuit.
Alameda County Senior Deputy District Attorney Ken Mifsud said the $18.1 settlement will be shared by 32 prosecutors from across the state. Settlement money will also be used to fund consumer protection, environmental enforcement and cleanup projects.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.