CLOVIS — Last August, dairy farmer Art Schaap received some of the worst news of his life: Both his livelihood and his health were at risk from toxic chemicals in his groundwater. Testing revealed that seven of Schaap’s 13 wells at Highland Dairy were contaminated with toxic substances that had leached into the groundwater from neighboring Cannon Air Force base.
Now, almost one year later, Schaap still can’t sell milk from the dairy, and according to his doctor, his kidney function has deteriorated — a known health effect of exposure to the chemicals.
Residents and local officials worry that others in the path of the underground pollution plume also may be at risk. The Air Force has not initiated cleanup, and the full extent of the contamination is unknown.