Environmental Enforcement: Paint Company Settles for $1.075 Million

by | Jan 6, 2011

An Orange County-based paint company will pay $1 million to six district attorney’s offices in California — including San Diego County — to settle a lawsuit alleging illegal transportation and mismanagement of hazardous waste and materials,

The settlement with Vista Paint Corp. was entered Monday in Orange County Superior Court on behalf of the district attorney’s offices in the counties of San Diego, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Placer and Stanislaus.

Vista Paint was accused of improperly handling and transporting hazardous waste, including paint thinners and solvents, unusable paint materials and rags and absorbents used to clean up spills of hazardous materials.

The Hazardous Waste Control Law requires hazardous waste to be properly handled and disposed of from the location where it was generated. The hazardous waste in this case was generated at Vista Paint retail locations and then illegally transported to a central facility in Fullerton without proper management or disposal of the waste as required by law, according to the lawsuit.

The company did not admit fault or liability in the settlement, which pertains to all Vista Paint retail stores in the six participating counties, according to a jointly issued statement.

The paint company agreed to pay $1.075 million, including $848,000 in civil penalties and costs. Some of the settlement will fund supplemental environmental projects that will provide support for the future enforcement of California environmental law.

The terms of the settlement require Vista Paint to properly label and store hazardous waste; train each employee at waste-generating facilities to identify hazardous waste; register each Vista Paint retail store that generates hazardous waste with the Department of Toxic Substances Control; and allow for the tracking of hazardous waste shipments.

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