Letters to the Editor

Harris contaminates groundwater

Thumbs down to John Harris of Harris Ranch – recently lauded by The Bee – for inadequate wastewater treatment and control at his company’s slaughterhouse near Selma.

His company’s decades-long discharge of high-strength slaughterhouse wastewater to unlined storage lagoons and adjacent disposal fields has contributed to causing groundwater to contain nitrate in concentrations more than six times the federal drinking water standard.

His company has unfairly profited by willfully failing to provide the best practical treatment and control necessary to preclude pollution. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board should issue his company a formal enforcement order to compel it to improve waste disposal practices and to remediate the nitrate contamination it has caused.

The quality of Harris Ranch beef may be a cut above other beef available in western grocery stores, but its production comes at the cost of contaminating local groundwater, a resource that is becoming ever more precious in this new normal of long-term drought.

Loyal consumers of this brand, including conscientious restaurant owners, should be aware of this, and boycott Harris Ranch beef until The Bee can award John Harris a thumbs up for improving wastewater disposal practices at his company’s slaughterhouse.

Jo Anne Kipps, Fresno