Farmer sues oil companies over alleged water contamination

Farmer sues oil companies over alleged water contamination.
CBS San Francisco reports that some farmers, like Mike Hopkins, suspect that wastewater might be what’s killing their crops, and impacting our food supply.
The problem began about eight years ago when the leaves of his newly planted cherry orchard started turning brown, Hopkins said.
His irrigation water contained the very same salty compounds found in the wastewater produced by dozens of nearby oil wells.
According to the lawsuit, abandoned injection wells reach into the same area deep underground where dozens of other active wells are injecting wastewater.
“Nobody is testing the water wells nearby, even though the Division of Oil and Gas knows there are multiple farmers complaining,” Oliver said.
In an email to CBS San Francisco, one of the oil companies involved, San Joaquin Facilities Management, blamed the drought and Big Ag irrigation practices for the problem: “There is no evidence that San Joaquin’s injected water escaped the zone into which it was injected.” Three other oil companies said they can’t comment because of pending litigation.
Jonathan Bishop, the department’s chief deputy director, is assisting the Division of Oil and Gas in a federally mandated review of hundreds of injection wells that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has determined could potentially be contaminating California’s drinking water supplies.
Back at the farm, attorney Patricia Oliver predicted things are just going to get worse.
Meanwhile Mike Hopkins has planted pistachios on the field where his cherry trees once blossomed.

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