State says FedEx Ground mishandled hazardous waste materials in California

Published: Thursday, Jun. 26, 2014 - 11:13 am

The state has taken a FedEx Corp. unit to court for allegedly mishandling ground package deliveries of hazardous materials in California.

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control has filed a civil complaint against FedEx Ground Package System Inc. alleging more than 1,500 instances that resulted in multiple violations of California’s hazardous-waste-control laws.

The complaint, filed Wednesday in Sacramento Superior Court, contends FedEx Ground failed to properly handle broken or leaking packages that contained hazardous materials such as acids, solvents, insecticides, batteries and other flammable, toxic or corrosive materials.

The suit says the instances of mishandling date back to at least November 2008. FedEx Ground is a unit of FedEx Corp., the multibillion-dollar delivery services company headquartered in Memphis, Tenn.

FedEx Corp. spokeswoman Katie Wassmer issued a brief statement: “Safety is essential to our business and FedEx complies with all applicable local, state and federal reporting requirements.” She did not elaborate beyond that.

The state’s complaint accuses Pennsylvania-based FedEx Ground of unlawfully transporting hazardous-waste packages to three California hub facilities that were not authorized to accept hazardous waste. The sites are in Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. It also alleges FedEx Ground unlawfully received and stored hazardous waste and improperly transported hazardous waste without the required registration and documentation.

The state also contends FedEx Ground, at its 31 California terminals, failed to obtain required identification numbers, fill out hazardous-waste manifests, send hazardous-waste packages to authorized facilities and properly label hazardous-waste packages.

The DTSC said the violations carry civil penalties of up to $25,000 each.

“These violations undermine DTSC’s goal of protecting Californians from toxic harm,” said Paul Kewin, head of the department’s Enforcement and Emergency Response Division.

The full complaint can be seen here.

Call The Bee’s Mark Glover, (916) 321-1184.

Read more articles by Mark Glover

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