A video posted by YouTuber Luke Murray appears to show three men dumping toxic liquid illegally in the Nevada desert. The men claim that if they don’t dump the barrels, their boss will fire them. The video was posted on YouTube on June 21 and already has over 100k views.
In the video, the cameraman says that they are being forced to dump and burn barrels by two or three a night. As the man narrates this, he instructs one of his coworkers named Cliff to “hold on” so he can get the dumping on camera.
Most of the barrels are labeled “Hocut 795-H,” which according to its manufacturer Houghton is a “general-purpose cutting fluid… industry-changing soluble oil that operates independent of sump-side additives even in the most severe conditions… [that is] the most used coolant in the US…”
The cameraman claims he’s documenting the dumping because he doesn’t want to get in trouble.
However, the law may not be on his side. In a discussion forum about the video on Reddit, a self-proclaimed owner of an environmental engineering company writes as chunky_ninja:
[Cameraman], please stop immediately. You need to contact the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection (NDEP) as soon as possible. You can be held criminally liable for causing the contamination, but if you’re the one that’s calling NDEP, the District Attorney will more likely decide that you’re not the one they want to go after. If all goes well, you would become a witness. If someone calls NDEP or the DA before you do, you will become a defendant in a criminal case. They’ll go after everyone – you, your boss, your co-workers, the company. The legal defense costs will break you.
Unfortunately, your admission that “this feels wrong. this has to be illegal” doesn’t help you. Frankly, it probably hurts you. What’s your response when the prosecution says “You knew, or should have known what you were doing was illegal…yet you did it anyway. If your boss told you to rape a 6 year old, would you do it? Your video proves that you knew you were doing an illegal act.” Unfortunately you just posted it to the internet, so somebody is probably calling NDEP by the end of the week.
Get on the right side of the law immediately. Please listen to me: I’m extremely qualified to speak on this topic. My company specializes in contaminated soil and groundwater, and we operate throughout the west. I’m a licensed engineer in 5 states, a certified hazardous materials manager, a commissioner on a hazardous materials commission, etc…more credentials than you can shake a stick at.
A later poster pointed to three low-level city employees that were charged in the Flint, Michigan water crisis as an example as to how much trouble the men could be in.
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