Nov 24, 2010

CVS to Pay Penalty Under Agreement with Connecticut DEP

DEP found violations in discharge of wastewater containing pharmaceuticals and photography chemicals

The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced a comprehensive settlement with CVS in Connecticut under which the national retail chain is paying penalties of $268,900 for numerous violations of environmental regulations at its stores.
The violations involve the improper discharge of wastewaters containing materials used in the processing of photographs and wastewaters containing pharmaceuticals.
"This case shows the importance of monitoring compliance with laws designed to protect natural resources and the public health,” said DEP Commissioner Amey Marrella. “CVS simply failed to ensure the proper handling of wastewater from processing photos and failed to ensure the proper and safe disposal of pharmaceutical products. The company is now taking steps to change its business practices and come into compliance with the law."
"Discharging waste water from photo processing without making proper use of systems designed to capture and recycle silver and silver byproducts can result in excessive amounts of this chemical being discharged into the environment. These byproducts then pose a threat to the waters and natural resources of our state," Marrella said. "In addition, we know that disposing of pharmaceuticals into septic and sewer systems is not the best practice and can have a negative impact on aquatic life. We are learning that even after wastewater is treated, trace amounts of pharmaceuticals can make their way into our waters where they have a negative impact on aquatic life."
Under the agreement, CVS will pay $223,900 to the state’s General Fund and $45,000 for a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP). These SEP funds will be used by the Connecticut Fund for the Environment (CFE) to study the potential for reducing the amount of storm water that enters the sewer systems in New Haven and Bridgeport. The sewer systems in these cities, which collect both storm water and domestic sewage, become overwhelmed during heavy rains, which can release untreated sewage into rivers, streams and Long Island Sound.