Juan and Maria had been trying to have a baby for 2 years. Their first child, Elaina, conceived before they moved to their current home and born without a problem, was now 4 ½ years old. But yesterday, Maria experienced her miscarriage in the past 14 months. Before they moved into their current home, about 3 years ago, Juan and Maria had taken a sample of the well water and had it tested. At that time, the water was determined to be safe to drink. Six months after that, however, a large-scale, rural hog farm had been built less than one-half mile away and began operations shortly after that. At first, the smell wasn’t noticeable, but now the stench from the huge waste lagoon was evident most days, State inspectors had made several visits to the operation in the past year. Juan wondered whether the water in their well was still safe to drink. He decided to have their well water tested again.
Suppose the well water is found to contain high levels of nitrates. Assuming that Juan and Maria cannot move, what steps could they take to improve their chances of a successful pregnancy? What might they do to restore the safety of their well water? What local, state, or federal agencies might be able to help them? Environment injustice is a term used to describe situations in which undesirable industries or waste disposal sites are preferentially located in minority areas. Is there anything about this situation that might suggest that this is a cast of environment injustice?