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Toxic waste investigated

Staff reports

East Fork Fire District and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office are conducting a joint investigation into a possible illegal dumping that caused a garbage collector to get sick.

The man became ill while picking up commercial garbage for the Town of Minden on Monday morning.

He had just dumped a garbage container at the Minden AM/PM Mini-Mart into the truck and compacted it when the man detected a strange smell and became light-headed, said East Fork Fire Inspector Terry Taylor.

“He was taken by rescue to the Minden Medical Center and checked out and found to be in good health,” Taylor said.

At 4:30 p.m., the state allowed the truck to be moved to the landfill, where the investigation continues.

Taylor said some substances were found that should not have been placed in the Dumpster. Investigators are still trying to determine what the material is.

Rah Environmental, a hazardous waste disposal company, is also assisting in the investigation, Taylor said.

“Now we are in the middle of a full-blown hazardous materials investigation,” Taylor said. “There is not an immediate threat to the public.”

Taylor said there is a possibility of criminal charges arising from the investigation.

“If we determine that the material was illegally dumped, the sheriff’s office will submit the information to the district attorney’s office for cost reimbursement and prosecution,” he said.