DISH Network agreed to a $5.5 million settlement over allegations it illegally disposed of and mismanaged hazardous waste, state and Alameda County prosecutors announced Wednesday.
The home and business satellite TV provider will pay $3.32 million in penalties, $835,500 in legal costs, $845,000 for supplemental environmental projects and $500,000 for enhanced compliance measures to ensure the hazardous waste it handles is properly managed, the prosecutors said.
The settlement was agreed to with California Attorney General Rob Bonta's Office and Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley's Office. It also requires DISH Network California Service Corp. to come into compliance with state law by making changes to its operations and practices, according to Bonta's and O'Malley's offices.
“For years, DISH carelessly disposed of and sent hazardous waste to local landfills, ignoring the consequences for our communities and our environment,” state Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement. “From there, hazardous chemical elements from electronic devices, batteries, aerosols, and more could seep into soil and contaminate our environment.”
The allegations of wrongdoing go back to 2005 when DISH allegedly started disposing of the waste illegally and sending it to landfills that are not set up to handle it, prosecutors said.
Audits of California DISH facilities showed that DISH violated Hazardous Waste Control and Unfair Competition laws by repeatedly disposing of hazardous materials in trash bins bound for landfills over multiple years, according to audits, prosecutors said.
In addition to the $5.5 million settlement, DISH must have an independent auditor make sure DISH is environmentally compliant at its 25 California facilities.
DISH must regularly inspect its trash dumpsters and roll-off containers to be sure none contain hazardous waste, and the company must train its employees regarding California hazardous waste laws.
“We became aware of this in 2012 and immediately conducted an internal review, implemented additional protocols and worked with the state of California to ensure we were in compliance with regulations,” a statement from DISH said.
“We have been compliant since the end of 2012. While these issues have been addressed for years, we are pleased to have reached a settlement with the state, particularly one that recognizes our many waste training and management actions that go above-and-beyond the state legal requirements,” the DISH statement said.