Costco has agreed to pay $3.6 million to settle a lawsuit filed by 29 district attorneys accusing the big-box retailer of failing to properly store and dispose of hazardous materials at dozens of its outlets in California.
Over a five-year period, Costco employees failed to label or sort hazardous materials that had sat unsold on shelves or that customers had returned, such as oven cleaner, bleach, pool chlorine, nicotine patches and batteries, according to the lawsuit.
Some materials were thrown out in the trash while others were left in stores indefinitely. State law requires that all hazardous materials be properly disposed of within 90 days.
Several of the stores where disposal was a problem were in the Bay Area, prosecutors said.