A years-long undercover investigation found that CarMax Auto Stores in California were caught illegally dumping hazardous material in trash dumpsters including auto body sanding dust, sanding pads, automotive paints, clear coats, solvents, non-empty aerosols, and other hazardous substances used during the auto body repair process. Out of the numerous stores in California, two San Diego County locations in Kearny Mesa and Escondido were found to be out of compliance. [TWEET THIS]
The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office along with 16 other District Attorney’s Offices in California, settled the environmental protection action against CarMax Auto Superstores California, LLC. The settlement was based on the unlawful handling and disposal of various hazardous materials and hazardous wastes from 2014 to 2020 year. The action was filed in Orange County Superior Court.
“This settlement holds CarMax accountable for violating laws that are in place to protect the environment,” District Attorney Summer Stephan said. “These types of investigations and settlements are a reminder to corporations that they have a responsibility to be a good steward to our environment or face consequences.”
CarMax Auto Superstores California, LLC is an automotive retailer that operates more than 190 dealerships in at least 28 states, including California. In the ordinary course of business, CarMax handles, transports, stores, manages, uses and disposes of hazardous materials. Additionally, it generates regulated quantities of hazardous waste from its automotive inspection, service and repair departments. Numerous inspections by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control along with local environmental regulators found that CarMax facilities were out of compliance with the hazardous materials and hazardous waste laws. The San Diego Department of Environmental Health and District Attorney Investigators from several counties conducted undercover inspections of CarMax’s trash containers, which revealed the illegal disposal of hazardous auto body sanding dust, sanding pads, automotive paints, clear coats, solvents, non-empty aerosols, and other hazardous substances used during the auto body repair process.
In accordance with the Hazardous Waste Control Law and Hazardous Materials Release Response Plans and Inventory Law, the stipulated judgment mandates training, reporting and compliance with the regulations on hazardous materials, and hazardous wastes. The settlement totaling $1.6 million requires CarMax to pay $1 million in civil penalties and $300,000 for investigative costs. The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office will receive $55,385 in penalties and $3,250 in costs.
CarMax will also make an additional payment of $300,000 to fund supplemental environmental projects furthering consumer protection and environmental enforcement in California. CarMax was cooperative throughout the investigation and implemented training and compliance programs at each of its facilities.
The case was brought in conjunction with the District Attorney’s Offices of Orange, Riverside, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Fresno, Stanislaus, Kern, Ventura, Sacramento, Alameda, San Diego, Solano, Sonoma, Santa Clara, San Mateo and Contra Costa counties, where CarMax facilities are located. [TWEET THIS]