A California judge has ordered the Home Depot to pay $27.8 million to resolve allegations of unlawfully disposing of hazardous waste, and discarding records without rendering private customer information unreadable.
The ruling in the Alameda Superior Court was connected to a civil enforcement action filed on Feb. 15 by the San Diego County District Attorney's Office and eight other prosecutor's offices in the state.
The suit alleged more than 300 Home Depot stores routinely and systematically sent hazardous waste to local landfills that were not permitted to receive those wastes, according to San Diego's DA Summer Stephan.
They included pesticides, aerosols, paint, batteries, mercury-containing fluorescent bulbs and electronic waste.
Her office's inspection team searched dumpsters belonging to Home Depot stores in a coordinated effort with other offices in the state between 2013 and 2015.
They determined the stores were also throwing out documents containing sensitive customer information into store trash bins, Stephan said.
As a result of the claim, Home Depot looked at its procedures and made changes including adding customer records lock boxes in several areas of the store to provide employees a place to discard sensitive information. Those changes will cost the company at least $6.8 million, according to the San Diego DA's office.
The chain must pay $18.5 million in civil penalties and costs with an additional $2.5 million to fund environmental projects.
All 23 Home Depot stores in San Diego County are subject to the terms of the settlement, the DA's office said.
Matt Harrigan with Home Depot Corporate Communications told NBC 7, "We’re pleased to have settled this and we remain committed to the responsible disposal of waste. We’ll continue to work with California officials to that end."