The Detroit Free Press has an extensive, two-part series on contaminated ground water in west Michigan. Food processing plants spray wastewater onto local crops, kicking off a process that primes groundwater to pick up extra iron and other heavy metals. The food processing industry and a state environmental agency have known about the problem for years, but residents say they have been slow to clean up the problem or notify them.
Part one: “Companies denied responsibility, failed to meet cleanup deadlines and violated state law with leaks, spills and illegal dumping of fruit waste, records show.”
Part two: “What unfolded next was a saga of illegal blueberry waste dumping, which contaminated the groundwater that fed the stream, killing fish and other aquatic life in it.”
A graphic showing how food processor wastewater contaminates groundwater (PDF).