Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mixing Oil and Water

With the current drought in California many methods are being looked to for relief from this issue. This article (and its twin) talk about the practice of using recycled oil wastefield water in order to irrigate the crops. This process is even being praised for how it is dealing with the issue so successfully.  But the most important thing that is being overlooked is the safety processes involved in the filtering of the water.  The standards as they existed only check for the chemicals used in oil fields back when the program began.  They see this as being “Good Enough” and fail to account for many chemicals that are being used in the treatment today such as the acetone and methylene chloride that was present in the water being used for irrigation.  The good news is that legislation was passed that forced the plants to expand the chemicals that they test for and they reported that the water that they were using was cleaning of the contaminants.  This is good news for the farmers using this water for their crops during this drought.  But since contaminated water was used at one point it is unclear whether or not the produce that was grown using the water.  Hopefully no damage was done and the upgraded testing methods ensures that no more damage will be done to the crops.
--Doug Burroughs

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