Violated state environmental protection laws
By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa County District Attorney
Martinez, Calif. – Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton announced Monday, a $1.43 million settlement against Kelly-Moore Paint Company (Kelly-Moore) to resolve allegations that the company violated California state laws governing hazardous waste by routinely and illegally disposing of paint colorants, paint, electronic devices, aerosol products, and other hazardous wastes into company waste bins destined for municipal landfills not authorized to accept hazardous waste. The lawsuit also resolves allegations that Kelly-Moore failed to shred customer records containing confidential information before disposal.
“My office will always strive to protect the environment and public health by holding companies accountable for violating our environmental laws. This settlement not only acts as a deterrent against other potential violators but more importantly contains injunctive provisions to ensure Kelly Moore will maintain environmental compliance into the foreseeable future.,” stated Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton.
Kelly-Moore is a retail paint company in North America. In California the company owns or operates approximately 106 retail stores, including nine stores in Contra Costa County as part of this settlement.
The investigation of Kelly-Moore was initiated by the California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC). From March 2016 through December 2018, inspectors from the DTSC, and investigators from other district attorney offices statewide, conducted a series of undercover inspections of waste bins originating at 29 separate Kelly-Moore locations. These inspections found numerous instances of unlawful disposal of hazardous waste paint colorants, paint, electronic devices, aerosol products, and other hazardous wastes. Kelly-Moore also violated laws meant to protect vulnerable confidential consumer information by unlawfully disposing of customer records without having rendered personal information unreadable.
When Kelly-Moore officials were notified by the prosecutors of the unlawful disposals, they immediately agreed to cooperate with the People and promptly implemented measures and dedicated additional resources towards environmental compliance at its stores. Stores are required to properly manage hazardous waste and to retain their waste in segregated, labeled containers to minimize the risk of exposure to employees and customers and to ensure that incompatible wastes do not combine to cause dangerous chemical reactions. Hazardous waste produced by Kelly-Moore stores through damage, spills, and returns is being collected by state-registered haulers, taken to proper disposal facilities, and properly documented and accounted for.
The settlement requires a monetary payment of $1.43 million. This consists of $825,000 for civil penalties, $178,750 for supplemental environmental projects, and $425,000 for reimbursement of investigative and enforcement costs. Kelly-Moore gets a credit of $125,000 against the penalties if it undertakes at least $250,000 in environmental enhancement work not required by law. In addition, the settlement includes provisions requiring Kelly-Moore to employ a California-based compliance employee to oversee Kelly-Moore’s hazardous waste compliance program and to undergo a trash receptacle audit to ensure hazardous wastes and confidential consumer information is properly disposed of at all stores. The results of the audit must be shared with the public. The company must also comply with 28 injunctive requirements pertaining to environmental and confidential consumer information protection laws.
Joining District Attorney Becton in this lawsuit are the District Attorneys of Alameda, Monterey, Placer, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma and Yolo Counties.