A California judge ordered Target Corp. to pay $22.5 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that the retailer illegally disposed hazardous waste at hundreds of stores throughout the state, prosecutors said Thursday.
Target violated procedures for handling toxic waste from 2002 until a few months after authorities filed the civil lawsuit in June 2009, said Tim Patterson, supervising deputy state attorney general.
Alameda Superior Court Judge Steven Brick ordered the settlement Wednesday with the state, 21 county district attorneys and city attorneys for San Diego and Los Angeles. It puts Target under tight scrutiny to ensure that it properly disposes waste at its nearly 300 stores in California.
Authorities said the Minneapolis-based retailer had no special procedures to dispose of goods such as oven cleaners, aerosols, paint and fertilizers. Companies are required to separate such hazardous items from regular waste.
"Today we are saying that a corporate giant is being held accountable for its actions," said San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. "Target is finally cleaning up its act."
Target did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.