Wal-Mart Settles Water Pollution Violations with EPA

June 19, 2001
EPA and the Department of Justice reached an environmental agreement with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to resolve claims the retailer\r\nviolated the Clean Water Act.

EPA and the Department of Justice reached an environmental agreement with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to resolve claims the retailer violated the Clean Water Act at 17 locations in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Massachusetts.

The settlement commits Wal-Mart to establish a $4.5 million environmental management plan, to improve the retailer''s compliance with environmental laws at each of its construction sites and minimize the impact of its building on streams and watersheds.

The settlement also compels Wal-Mart to pay a $1 million civil penalty.

"We must be vigilant in protecting our drinking water," said EPA Administration Christie Whitman. "Those responsible for construction sites must control hazardous pollution from flowing into drinking water sources and waterways."

EPA alleges that Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart and 10 of its contractors failed to comply with storm water regulations and illegally discharged pollution from several construction sites.

The Clean Water Act requires the owners and operators of large construction sites to have permits, which generally require site operators to create and carry out pollution prevention plans to minimize the discharge of pollutants into storm water runoff.

Storm water runoff from construction sites can cause silt and sediments to build up in lakes and streams and kill aquatic life. Runoff can also transport pollutants like oil and pesticides into nearby storm drains, into sewer systems and ultimately into streams and waterways.

The environmental management plan that Wal-Mart will establish aims to avert construction-related pollution. Wal-Mart will require its contractors to certify that all appropriate storm water control measures are in place before construction begins at new stores.

The plan also requires Wal-Mart to improve its oversight of environmental compliance at its construction sites, conduct sampling at the sites to monitor the level of pollutants in storm water and report these findings to EPA.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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