Why Are California Farmers Irrigating Crops With Oil Wastewater?


California farmers have spread wastewater from oil fields on nearly 10,000 acres of food crops in the last 3 years.



According to an Environmental Working Group (EWG) analysis, Farmers in California's Central Valley nearly 100,000 acres of crops with oil field wastewater possibly tainted with toxic chemicals.



Companies are said to to have used more than 20 million pounds and 2 million gallons of chemicals on their crops since 2014. Many of the chemicals are classified as as carcinogens or reproductive toxins according to Proposition 65 law. The waste water had been sold to farmers in Kern County after being recycled. This process has been allowed by The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board for up to 40 years, only recently disclosing the details.

EWG published the report on Wednesday, just two days before a scheduled meeting on the safety practices of the company. There has been no reports of anyone becoming sick from this cross contamination.

Tasha Stoiber, an EWG senior scientist and author of the report said "No one should stop eating produce from California, but there are too many unanswered questions about whether crops could take up the chemicals in the wastewater and whether that could harm people's health. The only way to know for sure if this practice is safe for consumers, farm workers and the environment is to conduct a thorough and independent study."

A panel of experts was set up last spring after the waste water-spreading came to light, but they were unable to investigate properly until they knew what chemicals were being used, so they ordered the oil companies to disclose which chemicals they were using.

198 commercial additives were submitted, but a complete analysis was not possible as nearly 40% of the chemical names were withheld as 'trade secrets'.

The water board had previously said that used no waste water that has come from fracking sites, but the results said otherwise. Around 40% of the chemicals they found are known to be used in fracking procedures in California, raising questions of duplicity.

Bill Allayaud, EWG's California director of government affairs said "The overlap of fracking chemicals and the chemicals used in conventional drilling is troubling," he went on "The water board should have thoroughly studied and assessed this practice before allowing it. But even as it plays catch-up, it is contemplating additional proposals to expand the practice. Until the safety of the public and the environment can be assured, this is irresponsible."





The treated water has been applied to almonds, pistachios and citrus trees, along with grapes, carrots, beans, tomatoes and potatoes grown throughout Kern and Tulare Counties.

However the EWG has recommended that until more independent studies are carried out on the implications of the water, there should be suspensions on some existing permits.







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Why Are California Farmers Irrigating Crops With Oil Wastewater? Why Are California Farmers Irrigating Crops With Oil Wastewater? Reviewed by C C on 18:50:00 Rating: 5
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