Good news for local groundwater

Dairy farms don’t taint water

A UC Davis study published recently found that most antibiotics given to dairy cows are broken down before they reach the groundwater.

The study, which was published in the online version of the journal Environmental Science & Technology on Sept. 1, is the first effort to see if local groundwater resources are affected by antibiotics used at some dairy farms, and that enter the environment through the ground and manure lagoons.

Scientists detected antibiotics in minimal amounts in the samples taken from two major dairy operations in the San Joaquin Valley from 2006 to 2008, and found that groundwater tested positive for the chemicals (such as tetracyclines) only within farm boundaries.

The university plans to conduct a study in the future to determine whether antibiotics found in groundwater are further depleted by the time water reaches drinking wells.