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A civil enforcement lawsuit alleged Dollar General retail stores throughout the state and their distribution center unlawfully handled and disposed of hazardous materials including automotive fluids, alkaline batteries, aerosol cans and expired over the counter medications.

A Kern County judge has ordered the company that owns Dollar General stores and a distribution center in California to pay $1.12 million as part of a civil settlement for unlawfully disposing hazardous wastes over a five-year period.

The final judgment was announced Monday by the Kern County District Attorney's office and 31 other California district attorneys.

The judgment, agreed to by Dolgen California, and its subsidiary corporations, resolves allegations made in a civil enforcement lawsuit on April 11 in Kern County, according to a D.A.'s office news release. 

Under the settlement, Dolgen California must pay $500,000 in civil penalties and $375,000 to reimburse the costs of the investigation. An additional $112,000 will fund "supplemental environmental projects furthering consumer protection and environmental enforcement in California, the release said.

According to the release, Dolgen will also fund hazardous waste minimization and other projects valued at $138,000. 

The lawsuit alleged Dollar General retail stores throughout the state and their distribution center unlawfully handled and disposed of hazardous materials including automotive fluids, alkaline batteries, aerosol cans and expired over the counter medications.

Undercover operations conducted by district attorney offices and environmental regulators statewide revealed Dollar General stores and the distribution center "routinely and systematically" sent hazardous wastes to local landfills in California that weren't permitted to receive those materials, the release said. 

Regulators also found documentation of employee hazardous waste training to be inaccurate or incomplete, according to the release. 

Dollar General cooperated throughout the investigation, the release said, changing its policies and procedures to ensure hazardous waste products were disposed of properly. The judgment requires hazardous wastes be labeled, packaged and stored to minimize its exposure to employees and customers. 

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