Wal-Mart agrees to stormwater settlement; pledges cooperation with Conn. DEP

In deal concerning violations at 20 Wal-Mart stores and two Sam's Club locations, the company will pay $600,000 in civil penalties for incidents alleged to have taken place between 1996 and 2003. It also will contribute $550,000 to two different supplemental environmental projects -- $500,000 to assist municipalities in addressing stormwater issues, and $50,000 for environmental projects in the Connecticut River Watershed...

Aug 16th, 2005

BENTONVILLE, AR, Aug. 15, 2005 (PRNewswire-FirstCall) -- Wal-Mart has signed a stormwater settlement agreement with the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection concerning alleged violations at 20 Wal-Mart stores and two Sam's Club locations in the state.

Under the agreement, the retailer will pay $600,000 in civil penalties for violations alleged to have taken place between 1996 and 2003. It also will contribute $550,000 to two different supplemental environmental projects -- $500,000 to assist municipalities in addressing stormwater issues, and $50,000 for environmental projects in the Connecticut River Watershed.

"Wal-Mart pledges to cooperate fully with the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection to avoid issues of this type in the future," said Del Sloneker, senior vice president of operations, Wal-Mart Stores Division. "We have made a major effort to address environmental concerns at our stores in Connecticut. We will continue to do all we can to assure that our associates in these stores not only know the environmental laws of the state but comply with them consistently and actively."

In recent years, Wal-Mart has:
* Installed new trash compactors at most Wal-Mart and Sam's Club locations. These compactors have specially designed seals that prevent leaks.
* Trained store associates in Department of Environmental Protection stormwater requirements.
* Distributed to stores an updated spill guidance poster to assist store associates in handling spills of oil or hazardous material.
* Posted signs about battery recycling and pesticide application to help consumers handle these items properly.
* Provided an Environmental Management Guidance Manual to the stores that includes environmental requirements and guidance.
* Provided additional pesticide warning signs to stores for distribution to customers.
* Installed oil/water separators at seven new stores.
* Implemented new policies requiring that lawn and garden chemicals be stored under a cover or roof.

"Clearly we've done a lot in Connecticut to address the issues cited by the Department of Environmental Protection," said Sloneker. "By continuing to work closely with the DEP, we will do our part to protect the natural resources of Connecticut."

Sloneker was quick to point out that Wal-Mart has taken many proactive steps to protect the environment at the national level as well:

-- Zero-tolerance stormwater program
* In February, Wal-Mart -- one of the largest developers in the United States, with more than 330 stores opened in 2004, and 375 scheduled to open in 2005 -- announced a zero-tolerance stormwater program. Wal-Mart now requires that any firm bidding on a Wal-Mart contract send its project managers and superintendents through the Wal-Mart certification program.

-- An EPA-approved stormwater training program
* In July of 2004, Wal-Mart established its EPA-approved Stormwater Professional Training program. Wal-Mart has since certified more than 2,600 general contractor superintendents and project managers along with Wal-Mart construction managers and other in-house personnel.

-- Acres for America
* This spring Wal-Mart announced "Acres for America," a first-of-its-kind partnership between Wal-Mart and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation. Through a $35 million, 10-year grant, Wal-Mart will support the permanent protection of the nation's most sensitive wildlife habitats. Over the next 10 years, Wal-Mart, the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, and national conservation partners will permanently conserve one acre of priority wildlife habitat for every developed acre of Wal-Mart's current footprint, estimated at 88,000 acres, as well as the company's future development over the next 10 years, bringing the total to 138,000 acres.

-- McKinney, Texas, experimental store
* To learn more about how Wal-Mart and the entire industry can improve in the area of sustainability, Wal-Mart opened in July an experimental store, which includes solar panels, a bio-fuel boiler, special refrigeration units, wind socks for air distribution and many other environmental features. Another experimental store is slated to open in Aurora, Colo., later this year.

The goal is to: 1) reduce the amounts of energy and natural resources required to operate and maintain the store; 2) reduce the raw materials needed to construct the facility; and 3) use renewable materials, when appropriate, to construct and maintain the facility.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. operates Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam's Club locations in the United States. Internationally, it operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

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