Las Vegas business becomes dumping ground for biohazardous materials, causing dangerous disposal

Tom Martin often finds used and unused needles left in the back alley of his business. But that’s not all.
Published: May. 4, 2022 at 1:23 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Tom Martin, the owner of the Leatherneck Bar and Restaurant located on Spring Mountain Road, often finds used and unused needles left in the back alley of his business. But that’s not all.

“Human feces, just dumped, luggage, people dumping food back here, just all kinds of stuff,” said Martin. “The normal stuff I don’t mind cleaning up, it is when it comes to the biohazard stuff I am not about cleaning up.”

For 32 years, the club has served as a bar and social outlet that honors and celebrates our troops and veterans. Martin said over the last year, he has seen an uptick in homeless residing in the area.

“The homeless problem, we have people just sleeping out front of buildings, the side of buildings,” said Martin. “They are defecating the sides of the buildings. It is just getting crazy.”

In Nevada, it is illegal to just throw away biohazardous materials like the needles. Because of this, Martin was unsure of how to dispose the needles, so he reached out for help but got no answers.

“I called three different municipalities and organizations within Clark County, and they all had a dead end for me, and they had no referral of where I would go next for it,” said Martin.

Martin said he found the needles piled up on the ground next to the side of his business and after making several calls and still not knowing what to do with them, he posted to social media reaching out for help on what to do. Within 10 minutes, the community acted and safely cleaned it all up.

“That good Samaritan was a veteran who did come assist us and that is one of the reasons I love our veteran community so much and why we do what we do here,” said Martin. “That veteran said let me help and he stepped right up, and they did.”

Clark County said because the business is located on private property, there isn’t much they can do.

“A little disenchanted by it. Our community tax dollars going to work in our community,” said Martin. “You know something like a biohazard you think would be a priority.”

LVMPD said a bill was passed in 2013 that prohibits police from citing or arresting anyone for usage of syringes in public.

Sergeant Steven Reese from Metro’s homeless outreach team said any homeowner or property owner experiencing this issue with homeless on their property can reach out to their area commander for help.

“The area commands will typically reach out to our team as we strictly do outreach,” said Reese. “That is our whole mission is to provide resources and opportunities for the unhoused individuals to go somewhere for the night or to find a more permanent solution.”

Reese said though they can go and do outreach to get homeless off the streets, the tricky part for them is some don’t want the help.

“We go out and we offer services multiple times and most of the time, they are reluctant to taking any types of services they want,” said Reese. “They are comfortable in their environment, and they are willing to stay there.”

When it comes to the biohazardous materials, Republic Services said it has a way to properly dispose the materials.

“Customers with medical waste should contact customer service to determine what services are needed and what we can provide,” a company representative said in a statement. “All locally collected medical waste is brought to Republic’s medical waste treatment facility and sterilized in large autoclaves before disposal.”

“A 1-800 contact number through the county or through the state or something,” said Martin. “That kind of stuff doesn’t need to be ran across by children or something. We don’t know where it is going to go. We don’t know if it is going to go in our water system, is it going to go down drainage, I don’t know.”