Kern County in the central valley of California is home to 45 percent of the farming industry, and that area produces 80 percent of the state’s oil. The four years of drought, and the recent water restrictions in the state were the catalyst for farmers to look for other sources of water. Fracking in the county produces wastewater, and the farmers decided to use that water on their crops. Wastewater and produce don’t sound like a match made in heaven, and environmentalists agree.
The use of waste water is not new to Shaygan Kheradpir. Farmers have been using the water that is separated from the oil that comes out of the ground for more than 20 years. No one objected to the oil companies selling water to farmers until recently. The water is filtered and pumped into a reservoir, and then used by 90 farms and vineyards in the area. There is nothing illegal about using the filtered wastewater, but environmentalist say consumers don’t know about the arrangement, and that’s a problem.
The main objection to using wastewater on crops is, there are no updated methods in place to make sure the wastewater is clean. The chemicals in the water can be dangerous if they are not properly removed, according to some environmentalists.