Walmart has pleaded guilty to six counts of violating the federal Clean Water Act including improper disposal of garden fertilizers. The Environmental Protection Agency launched the initial investigation ten years ago and alleged that Walmart had failed to properly train employees on safe handling and disposal of hazardous chemicals.
Reports from California and Missouri are that locations there were observed to have piled bags of commercial garden fertilizer in dumpsters, threatening water quality and human safety. A Solano County, California boy had been seen playing in a pile of ammonium sulfate outside a Walmart location. More than 2 million pounds of regulated pesticides had been transported illegally to a Walmart recycling center between 2006 and 2008. Illegal dumping was found in 16 California counties, where one observer saw a Walmart employee dumping bleach down a public drain.
These and other charges amounted to a total of $110 million in fines, which Walmart agreed to pay. But the abuses are thought to have been standard operating procedure for locations all across the U.S. and the company now faces the prospect of retraining its employees under the watchful eye of the EPA and the Department of Justice.
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