Two decades of dumping wastewater from Hilmar Cheese Co. onto surrounding fields has polluted the groundwater in Hilmar, California, according to a report by consultants hired by the company. Eighteen wells in and around Hilmar are so contaminated with nitrates, arsenic, barium, and salts that the water is undrinkable, forcing some people to abandon their homes.
One of the world’s largest cheesemakers, Hilmar Cheese has a long history of objecting to pollution limits and enforcement actions proposed by the regional water quality control board, and despite thousands of violations over nearly 16 years, it never paid any fines. However, following an exposé by the The Sacramento Bee, the company settled in 2006, paying a $1 million fine and $1.8 million toward environmental studies. Hilmar Cheese is now under a state order to clean up waste discharges by February, but it has also won permission to increase the amount of wastewater that it dumps on fields.
Speaking of dairy-related pollution, a farmer in Berks County, Pennsylvania, had to be rescued after he fell into a 15-foot-deep manure pit earlier this week. I guess you could say he was having a crappy day—kind of like every day for cows on factory dairy farms.
|lynn dombrowski/ CC by 2.0|
Written by Alisa Mullins