By Bobbi Mauler, Executive Assistant to the District Attorney, Contra Costa County
Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton announced Monday, Feb. 28 that the Contra Costa DA’s Office, together with 16 other California District Attorneys and City Attorneys, have reached a settlement with Copart for injunctive relief, civil penalties, and enforcement costs totaling $800,000. According to their website Copart, founded in Vallejo in 1982 and now headquartered in Dallas, “is a global leader in 100% online car auctions featuring used, wholesale and repairable vehicles.”
After an investigation into the waste management practices of Copart, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office, along with 16 other California district attorney and city attorney offices filed a civil complaint alleging Copart disposed of hazardous waste items into the trash. The items disposed of consisted of used office supplies, and items removed from vehicles being prepared for sale such as personal items, small electronics, personal care, automotive, and other consumer products. These practices ultimately lead to hazardous waste being improperly transported to and disposed of in municipal landfills instead of authorized hazardous waste disposal facilities.
“Corporations must be held accountable for conduct that poses a harm to the environment,” said DA Becton. “Copart was cooperative with the investigation and enhanced their existing training programs designed to properly manage and dispose of all items that are regulated as hazardous waste.”
The judgment agreed to by the parties provides for $650,000 in civil penalties, $150,000 in costs of enforcement and a permanent injunction prohibiting Copart from violating hazardous waste laws and requiring Copart to implement compliance assurance measures.