California Farmland Being Watered With Oil Wastewater: What Could Go Wrong?

Oil Wastewater

At least 45,000 acres of California farmland is being watered with oil wastewater left over from oil production. And it’s not being tested for oil or other harmful chemicals. What could possibly go wrong? This is water that has been previously filtered and treated and sometimes mixed with fresh water, however it’s not being tested for latent oil production chemicals before using it to irrigate crops. Crops which get shipped all over the USA and world. Crops which are consumed by human beings. By children.

Oil Wastewater

Are we eating food which has been watered with oil or chemical laden water?

“As California farmers face a fourth year of the state’s historic drought, they’re finding water in unexpected places — like Chevron’s Kern River oil field, which has been selling recycled wastewater from oil production to farmers in California’s Kern County. Each day, Chevron recycles and sells 21 million gallons of wastewater to farmers, which is then applied on about 10 percent of Kern County’s farmland…Chevron is pushing back against claims that the wastewater contains dangerous chemicals, saying in a statement emailed to the Los Angeles Times that “protection of people and the environment is a core value for Chevron, and we take all necessary steps to ensure the protection of our water resources.” Out of an “abundance of caution,” however, both Chevron and the Cawelo Water District will contract with an outside group to test the wastewater. Still, Chevron would not disclose publicly the fluids it uses for drilling or well maintenance.” ~ ThinkProgress

Let’s be clear. It’s not that we can’t use this water if it’s clean and free of harmful chemicals. That’s not the issue.

The issue is that know one really knows what’s in the water and if it is in fact free of harmful chemicals.

If it’s not, what will those chemicals do to people if they consume them by eating the fruits and vegetables grown with this water?

It’s a double edged sword. California is a huge producer of food for the USA and the world, and it’s going through a very severe drought. The state cannot afford to lose more of it’s crop production and farmers need clean water to irrigate their crops. It’s a catch 22. You can’t just ship water into the state without costing millions of dollars and it’s not sustainable at all given all the resources needed. it would increase the cost of food. The same thing will happen when supply dwindles, food prices will rise. So what do you do?

It’s a problem that needs to be addressed, and testing needs to be implementing by non-biased independent labs which have no connections to the oil industry.

Would you feel safe feeding your children fruits and vegetables grown with oil production wastewater?

I know I wouldn’t. Not unless they showed me non-biased scientific evidence that the water is clean and free of harmful chemicals.

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