State slams Wal-Mart, Sam’s

By Harlan Levy
Journal Inquirer
December 17, 2003

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has requested a temporary injunction against three Wal-Mart and two Sam’s Club stores — including the Sam’s in Manchester — for failing to obtain Department of Environmental Protection wastewater discharge permits for vehicle maintenance centers and photo processing labs.

The action, filed at the request of Environmental Protection Com missioner Arthur J. Rocque Jr., seeks to halt operation of the stores’ vehicle maintenance centers and photo processing labs until they obtain the necessary DEP permits.

“Wal-Mart is recklessly and repeatedly disregarding and defying our environmental laws, and we will shut down facilities that threat en contamination,” Blumenthal said. “We seek a court order to stop ongoing unpermitted wastewater discharges involving oil and silver with a high potential for harm.”

Besides the Manchester Sam’s, other stores lacking wastewater discharge permits are photo labs and vehicle maintenance centers at Wal-Mart’s North Windham and Waterbury stores, as well as vehicle maintenance centers at the Sam’s Club in Orange and at the Wal-Mart store in Newington.

“The Connecticut DEP has made repeated attempts to bring the chain of Wal-Mart stores in Connecticut into compliance with the state’s environmental laws:’ Rocque said. “Apparently, they are not as serious about environmental stewardship as we are.”

What makes this situation even more troubling, Rocque said, is that this action is a second referral to the attorney general and includes multiple stores where environmental problems have been documented.

“There is a clear pattern of corporate disregard that rises above the management of individual stores,” Rocque said.

The action amends a lawsuit against Wal-Mart for violating storm water permits governing the potential discharge of chemicals from garden centers and other environmental laws.

DEP inspectors discovered the violations during inspections between June and September.