"FIREBAUGH, Calif. -- A $30 million water treatment plant rises slowly over this quiet prairie on the San Joaquin Valley's west side where nature has both blessed and cursed farmers."
"It's a federal experiment amid 97,000 acres where annual farm production creates nearly a half-billion dollars in the economy.
Irrigating this fertile land leaves farmers with a nasty flush of drainage -- natural salts and metals from a long-gone inland sea. Water treatment might be the final step in putting an end to a chronic problem that has threatened the area for decades.
In the past, the drainage was discharged through a sensitive marshland on its way to the San Joaquin River, tainting plants and animal life along the way."