"$30 Million Treatment Plant Targets Tainted Valley Farming Drainage"

"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."

Mark Grossi reports for the Fresno Bee February 11, 2013.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013