The gardens of the Watchtower Farms complex not far from where the chemical waste was buried

Reports are emerging through the Associated Press that the Watch Tower Society may face penalties over chemical waste that was buried many years ago near the Watchtower Farms complex in upstate New York.

The Times Herald-Record reports that several 55-gallon drums containing benzene, xylene, and other chemicals hazardous to human health have been unearthed. The drums were retrieved at three different sites across the 1,141 acre property, but the scale of the pollution and full scope of the clean-up operation is not yet known.

Matt Hubicki, a representative for the Department of Environmental Conservation, revealed that the drums were found by Watchtower volunteers during construction works. “They found some drums while digging the foundation for one of their residential facilities” he told the newspaper. To their credit, it appears the Society immediately reported the find to the DEC. Nonetheless, the discovery raises serious question marks over the Society’s environmental track record, especially given its scathing criticism of those who pollute the environment.

The Watchtower Farms site is situated in the Hudson River Watershed area, meaning that any contaminants released into the soil from the antiquated drums could easily wind up in local drinking water.

It is uncertain exactly how and when the drums were buried, but it appears that the drums, filled with chemical waste including inks and solvents, were buried over a certain period in the Society’s history dating as far back as the 70s in an apparent attempt to “cut corners” rather than dispatching the pollutants to the appropriate waste disposal facility.

The Watch Tower Society often quotes from Revelation 11:18 which reads:

But the nations became wrathful, and your own wrath came, and the appointed time for the dead to be judged, and to give their reward to your slaves the prophets and to the holy ones and to those fearing your name, the small and the great, and to bring to ruin those ruining the earth. – New World Translation

The above scripture is repeatedly used to show that God disapproves of mankind’s pollution of the environment, for which those responsible will be called to account at Armageddon. The Society also published an Awake article entitled “Chemical Dumps Are Ticking Timebombs” in the November 22nd 1980 issue of the Awake, which said in part:

One huge dumping site was an abandoned water canal in New York State (U.S.A.) near famous Niagara Falls. The waterway was named after its builder, William Love, who, back in 1894, attempted to join two rivers and create a model city. His dream failed and all that remained was Love Canal, an uncompleted mile-long (1.6 km) ditch, 10 to 40 feet deep and generally 45 feet wide.

By the tons, chemical waste, most packaged in 55-gallon (208-L) drums, were cast by a new owner into Mr. Love’s canal. From the 1920’s through 1953 Hooker Chemical Company reportedly admitted to dumping 21,800 tons of chemicals there. The city of Niagara Falls added its share. So allegedly did the U.S. Army. Then in 1953 this witches’ brew was covered with earth and allowed to “cook” as barrels rotted and the chemicals combined.

The land was “sold” by Hooker Chemical to the Board of Education of Niagara Falls for $1.00 (U.S.). A school and housing development were built on the site. Soon a pleasant neighborhood settled on this massive chemical graveyard.

The “time bomb” was set, and now ticking. It was destined to “explode” with such impact that this spot would become front-page news and the focus of international attention. It became what may “very well be the first of a new and sinister breed of environmental disasters,” according to a special report sent to the governor of New York State.

Does this incident provide substantial evidence that man is “ruining the earth,” unlike in any other period in history? Does it perhaps portend that soon God will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth” by divine action? These are significant questions to ponder as you read what chemical wastes have done.—Rev. 11:18.

As has been mentioned, we currently have no way of knowing over what period the Watch Tower Society was in the practice of burying its chemical waste. It is likely that this illicit practice was going on as far back as the 70s. If this is true, then it would make the above Awake article, and the many more recent books and articles dealing with pollution, extremely hypocritical to say the least. – Matthew 23:27


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14 Comments on Watch Tower Faces Clean-Up Bill For “Ruining The Earth”

  1. Ruth says:

    Cedars! That is so interesting.
    I always worried about the pollution from the magazines and books.
    I remember so vividly how at the Farm the would say they were very conscious of helping the planet and were green so to speak.
    Have you seen this as well about Brazen conduct in the Elders new
    (keeping the brothers in line book?)

    I like this comment on Part 1:

    This is actually amazing news. (The “brazen” philosophy…that is). Once you see any organizations leadership try to tighten the reigns by force….history tells us repeatedly…that organization (I.E. Government, business etc.) is on it’s last leg and gasping for air. This specific death cant come soon enough

    Sister Ruth.


  2. DanielB says:

    Well , perhaps it was an oversight by the overseers there at that time .

    I think Harlan Mathes was the Watchtower Farms overseer at the time . Now THERE was a difficult managerial era ! I met him after he was “farmed out” to the congregation where I “served” . I am sorry to say that I would have been better off to have never met the man , save only for encounters for endurance .

    This is much like the global warming problems that come from oil by-products affecting the atmosphere . I wonder if the WTS can schmooze it over as the oil companies do . They have some pretty sharp attorneys too .


  3. DanielB says:

    How will you feel , you who are contributors at your kingdom halls , to know that your contributions to the society to use as they see fit , are being spent for such legal problems as this one ?

    In all fairness , I should think that few if any of you here waste financial resources that way .


  4. JJ says:

    Thanks Cedars for reporting on this so quickly. There is a lot more information over on Marvin Shilmer’s site if people want to learn more:



  5. Wakeupwitness says:

    When I heard about this it reminded me of the picture of the dead fish floating in the water and the barrel with chemicals pouring out in the revelation book. Can you say hypocrite?


  6. jacqueline says:

    Also this land was given to them by a family. The father and mother gave away their children’s inheritance. One of the daughters tell the story of how they lived there and have the right to live there but her family moved out west. I wonder what her family think now that they have behaved this way. She told her story on sixscreensof It is sad her parents gave the society all the land in wallkill when they were young. She is very angry over this.


  7. confused says:

    Really? That is crummy. They practically beg to give everything you own to them. I own my home and a life insurance policy. I was going to leave it to the watchtower, I’m soooooooooooo glad I never did. I’m leaving it solely to my children. Sad, very sad to hear.


  8. Willie says:

    The practice of the WTS is so very different from Charles T. Russell, who used his entire fortune (estimated to be $300,000) in the Lord’s work and NEVER asked for money or allowed offering plates to be used. His theory was that as long as the LORD had a work to be done He would provide the money by free-will offerings–and the LORD did.


    • Cedars says:

      Thanks for your comment Willie, although I’m not sure that this incident has any connection with Charles Taze Russell, or his approach to financing his work? Cedars


  9. confused says:

    Charles Russell was not correct in his theology tho, even tho he may have used his own money. He was way off in his thinking..have you researched his ideas and how he arrived at them? There is no way this man was hand picked by Jehovah as a faithful and discreet slave. That is taking out of context.


    • Amos says:

      I quite agree with your comment, confused.

      CT Russell was just like so many others who appeared around the same time, in fact he used much of what others had already published. After cosidering what he has stated to be truth, so much of this is just not in accord with sound scriptural truths.

      Many others of Russell’s era also came up with some good points (as did Russell), but this doesn’t in any way suggest that they were being directly used by The Father. If you check out ALL of the mainstream churches, you’ll also find the same applies to them. Anybody can read & study ther bible & come up with some truth, but this may be completely devoid of any assistance from the Holy Spirit….. “wise & intellectual”. This is not the mark of a true “brother of Christ”.



  10. Christian PEPER says:

    Further proof that the Watchtower is not a legitimate religion but a global corporation.


  11. John S. says:



  12. jedidiah s says:

    wel it gud watchtower u ar doing a 9ic work.trying to keep the earth safe 4 animal/human to inhabit it.


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