HARTFORD — Following is the full text of a press release issued Aug. 15, 2005, slightly more than three years ago, by Atty. Gen. Richael Blumenthal and Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Gina McCarthy:
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Gina McCarthy today announced a $1.15 million settlement with Wal-Mart involving environmental violations at 22 stores related to stormwater and other water management issues.
The state sued Wal-Mart in 2001 after the company failed to comply with stormwater management requirements at numerous stores. The violations threatened to expose the environment to sediments, fertilizers, oil and other pollutants – products often stored outside the stores and carried by rain into nearby bodies of water. It also sold an improper sewer additive at several stores.
The state later amended the lawsuit after it discovered that – at numerous stores – Wal-Mart also operated without appropriate permits needed for photographic wastewater and vehicle maintenance activities, as well as discharged wastewater from several dumpsters and garden centers.
“Wal-Mart’s environmental record here seems as low as its prices – proven violations at 22 stores in Connecticut,” Blumenthal said. “Big as it is, Wal-Mart failed to get it right. Now they need to change their corporate culture – and correct their systems. Giant corporations are not above the law. We’re holding Wal-Mart accountable for systemic, repeated violations across the state. Wal-Mart should use its corporate clout to set a high standard for sound environmental and employment conduct. At minimum, it must obey the law. This significant settlement should send a stark message to the industry: environmental disregard carries consequences.”
“Today’s announcement sends a strong message: It doesn’t matter how big you are – you can’t break the law,” McCarthy said. “We want businesses of all sizes to come to our state and expand in our state. That is how we create jobs for people. But we expect all businesses – large or small – to obey laws and regulations designed to protect the environment, preserve natural resources and safeguard the health of our citizens. This agreement ensures that Wal-Mart’s past violations of our laws will be corrected and that no future violations occur in the construction of new stores or the daily operations of the chain’s many stores in our state.”
Of the $1.15 million settlement, $600,000 satisfies a civil penalty to the Treasury; $500,000 will assist municipal compliance with stormwater regulations; and $50,000 will be used to protect the Connecticut River Watershed. Wal-Mart has also agreed to correct the improper discharges; submit plans to address stormwater management; hire a consultant to conduct seven bi-annual audits to ensure compliance and fix all violations; hire a stormwater consultant for all Wal-Mart construction sites in Connecticut for five years; cease using improper sewer additive; and obtain all proper permits.