Hilmar Cheese Co. polluted wells, reports show

ateate Acolyte
edited September 2010 in Spurious Generalities
Hilmar Cheese Co. polluted wells, reports show
Hilmar Cheese Co., one of the world's largest cheese producers, is responsible for spoiling neighbors' drinking water wells, new documents show.

For two decades, the cheese factory midway between Sacramento and Fresno has battled state pollution regulators, and this year it won permission to increase the amount of salty, mineral-rich wastewater dumped on surrounding fields.

Now, much of the well water isn't fit to drink. State officials say the company is the likely culprit in ruining at least 18 wells in and around Hilmar. High in nitrates, arsenic, barium and salts, the well water tastes bad and violates federal health standards.

The story of Hilmar is a classic tale of a company growing rapidly, bringing well-paying jobs but also environmental threats to a rural farm community. However, these are not corporate outsiders pitted against town residents; the owners of Hilmar Cheese are descendants of the community's founding families.

Rita and John Sanders and their son, Curry, are one of the families that have lost wells to pollution. Fourth-generation residents of Hilmar, they were driven off part of their land more than a decade ago by a contaminated well. They moved to the family farmhouse. Now that well is contaminated, too.

"This pollution has become the evil of the town, and they don't know how to stop it," said Rita Sanders, whose great-uncle built the first house in Hilmar. "This water used to be so good. It's not that way anymore."

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/09/26/MNC41FDC2H.DTL#ixzz10qIFlzXN

Yay! Pollution!
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