Las Vegas – The Division of Environmental Protection is investigating possible illegal chemical waste dumping after a video circulated online. The dumping apparently took place near Carson City.
The man filming the video claimed it took place in March and that his employer had been forcing employees to toss the alleged chemical waste on public land. It is unclear who the company in question is.
The video was posted to YouTube Wednesday and had reached more than 50,000 views in less than a day. By Thursday it had topped one million views.
It has since been taken down.
In the video, a remorseful man is heard saying: “This is what we got to do or we’ll lose our jobs.”
The man elaborated, saying that he and his co-workers had been dumping the waste for weeks and noticed the plants in the area were suffering.
A co-worker described the content in the container as “sludge.” He also said the waste was a mix of acid.
The barrels shown in the video carried a label from the company Houghton International Inc. According to its website, the material on the label is a cutting fluid used as a coolant for “virtually any machine tool.”
“This is very serious and completely alarming,” said AJ Buhay, the environmental justice organizer at Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. “Especially for the residents that live downwind from wherever this location is.”
FOX5 did a search of the area in which this dumping site is believed to be located and spotted several homes.
Buhay added that the harms of dumping and burning waste materials are far-reaching.
“Especially if you’re burning it, there are numerous health implications, and I think that whatever this company’s intentions were, if they broke the law they need to be held accountable,” Buhay said.
The state department has already taken a soil sampling and said they are running tests.
FOX5 also reached out to the YouTube poster, but he was not immediately available for comment.
Click here for updates on this story, including the response from Houghton International.