Toxic Fracking Water Being Used to Water Crops During California Drought

Many crops in the drought-stricken state of California are actually being irrigated with fracking wastewater.

Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure, which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well. Wastewater produced from this process is highly toxic and filled with a variety of chemicals.

In the midst of the recent drought in California, it was discovered that fracking wastewater has been used on crops for over 20 years. The Cawelo Water District, a guild comprised of local farmers, has been cooperating with oil firms in the area to recycle their wastewater for food production.

“It’s hard for the oil industry to get rid of, so it’s a win-win for the oil companies when they are able to sell the water,” Chevron spokesperson Abby Auffant said in a statement.

According to the AFP, Chevron’s refineries in Kern River California sell over 500,000 barrels of wastewater per day to the Cawelo Water District. It was also reported that the Cawelo Water District actually gets at least half of the water it uses from Chevron.

The water is allegedly put through a filtration system and cleaned in a variety of ways, but many critics wonder if this is safe enough to be used on food. For the farmers, this wastewater saves them well over a thousand dollars for every acre-foot of food that needs to be irrigated.

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