Discharges from irrigated agriculture are the largest source of pollutionin California’s Central Valley. Water diversions for irrigated agriculture pose significant environmental challenges by diminishing instream flows and depleting aquifers throughout the state. Agricultural operations also pose a significant threat to water quality when nitrates, pesticides, sediment, pathogens, heavy metals, and salts run off fields into surface and groundwater. Farming right up to the riverbank by intensive farming operations has also led to the destruction of natural riparian zones through increased erosion, nutrient and sediment pollution, higher water temperatures, and degraded aquatic habitats.
In East Porterville, Tomas Garcia and his family haul water to their home to use for showers, toilets, and dishes. Only bottled water is safe to drink. The stress of the situation strained Mr. Garcia’s high blood pressure and diabetes; others in his community had suicidal thoughts. In Seville, Rebecca Quintana and her family relied on costly bottled water to replace the tap water contaminated by a high level of nitrates until a new well could be installed. The lack of access to clean water takes its daily toll on communities like East Porterville and Seville across the San Joaquin Valley.
The reality is that Big Island Dairy produces local pollution: lots and lots of it. The cows at Big Island Dairy produce a lot more than milk. Due to its size and confinement of animals, the Dairy generates millions of gallons of animal urine and feces that, if not properly handled and treated, become a significant public health and environmental risk.
No one knows those risks better than the community of Ookala, whose residents reside just downhill from the Dairy’s operations.
Have you been infuriated by your State’s failure to limit toxic pollution from mines and other industries? If so, here’s how you can have your say and stand up for environmental justice.
Current federal regulations have a huge loophole right in the middle of the Clean Water Act permitting program.