State DA’s Offices, including Kern, settle $1.6M environmental protection action against CarMax

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Used car retailer CarMax. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer announced today that her office was one of 17 across the state involved in a $1.6 million settlement with CarMax over its handling of hazardous materials.

Zimmer said the offices settled an environmental protection action against Carmax Auto Superstores California LLC. based on the unlawful handling and disposal of various hazardous materials and hazardous wastes. The action was filed in the Orange County Superior Court.

“Laws concerning the proper disposal of hazardous wastes are designed to protect us all, and our Environmental Enforcement Unit will continue to work with other prosecutors and agencies to enforce those laws,” said District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer.

CarMax is an automotive retailer that operates more than 190 dealerships in at least 28 states. The company transports, stores, uses and disposes of hazardous materials. The DA’s Office said the hazardous waste comes from the company’s automotive inspection, service and repair departments.

The DA’s Office said inspections by the state Department of Toxic Substances Control along with local environmental regulators found that CarMax facilities were out of compliance with hazardous materials and hazardous waste laws.

Undercover inspections of CarMax’s trash containers 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.

The settlement requires CarMax to pay $1 million in civil penalties and $300,000 for investigative 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 is committed to environmental stewardship and has fully cooperated with the State of California and the District Attorneys’ Offices,” the company said in a statement. “Once notified of the program issues, CarMax immediately began to enhance its waste management policies and procedures. CarMax thanks its store teams for their hard work and commitment to implement and sustain these enhancements.”

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