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San Mateo County to Receive $212,500 from $22.5M Target Settlement

For the past five years, the company illegally dumped pesticides and hazardous chemicals.

Target Corporation will have to pay San Mateo County along with several other counties $22.5 million as part of a settlement of a civil case that alleged the
national retailer unlawfully disposed of various hazardous waste products for
more than five years.

The settlement, signed on Wednesday, closes a lawsuit filed in 2009 by then-Attorney General Jerry Brown, 20 district attorneys across the state, and the city

The lawsuit claimed that more than 290 Target-operated facilities in California handled and improperly disposed of hazardous materials, including pesticides, paint, aerosols, oven cleaners, pool chemicals and drain openers, among others, according to a statement from District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

Deputy District Attorney John E. Wilson said money was allocated to district attorneys in different amounts based on how much effort was invested in the case.

The San Mateo County District Attorney’s office will receive $170,000 and the San Mateo County Health Department will receive $42,500.

The dumping of materials may have gone on for more than five years, according to Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeffrey Rosen.

Company representatives were not immediately available for comment
on Wednesday's settlement.

Former San Mateo County District Attorney James P. Fox was the primary representative in the case at the time.

In Sept. 2010, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Steven Brick issued a preliminary injunction that prohibited Target and its employees from using unregistered haulers to transport hazardous waste and from transporting hazardous waste without the required manifests.

The injunction also barred the company from illegally managing and disposing of universal waste such as batteries, telephones, and computer and electronic equipment.

At the time of the injunction, Target, which is based in Minneapolis, released a prepared statement that said managers had "a comprehensive program to ensure our handling, storage, disposal and documentation of hazardous materials complies

According to O'Malley, California law requires companies to store, handle and dispose of hazardous wastes and materials in specified ways to But O'Malley said prosecutors allege that Target routinely ignored those laws in an effort to cut costs.

- Bay City News

Stacie Chan contributed to this article.

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