SAN DIEGO (CNS) — The automotive maintenance and repair company Firestone has agreed to a nearly $4 million settlement with 29 California cities and counties -- including the city of San Diego -- to resolve allegations the company unlawfully disposed of hazardous waste at its stores, it was announced Monday.
The retail chain, which does business as Firestone Complete Auto Care at more than 150 locations in California, was sued for allegedly failing to properly manage hazardous waste such as solvents, automotive fluids, aerosols, batteries and electronic devices.
The suit also alleged the company did not redact or shred confidential customer information on paperwork disposed in the trash.
According to the San Diego City Attorney's Office, the investigation into the alleged waste dumping began in 2016, when DA's investigators in Northern California inspected Firestone trash containers and found "non-empty containers of hazardous waste and pages of customer records."
San Diego City Attorney Mara W. Elliott said, "We expect large companies like Firestone to be good stewards of the environment. By joining with other prosecutors, we were able to bring them into compliance. All of us have a duty to keep our air and water clean."
Through the settlement, Firestone was ordered to pay nearly $2.9 million in civil penalties, plus more than $1 million more in costs for the investigation and agreed-upon compliance and training expenditures. According to the City Attorney's Office, Firestone has cooperated with prosecutors and "took steps to improve its compliance with the environmental and consumer protection violations brought to its attention."
The city of San Diego's share of the civil penalties will be $100,000, which the City Attorney's Office says is based on violations at Firestone locations in San Diego. The funds will be used to pay for the City Attorney's Office enforcement of consumer and environmental offenses, according to a City Attorney's statement.