Environmentalists in Florida continue to be concerned about a 45-foot-in-diameter sinkhole that recently opened up at a Polk County phosphate plant owned by the Mosaic Company.
More than 200 million gallons of contaminated water have leaked into the Floridan aquifer, following the failure of a storage pond at Mosaic’s New Wales plant near the town of Mulberry.
The water had been covering hazardous waste material, known as a gypsum stack, before the sink hole allowed it to drain.
According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the contaminated water has been contained so far, and there is no threat to offsite groundwater supplies.
The department said it will continue to monitor groundwater supplies for any changes.
However, Bradley Marshall, of the environmental group Earthjustice, is still concerned.
He said what happened at the Mosaic plant just proves mining for phosphate is bad for the environment, even in the best case scenario.
“No matter what Mosaic does at this point, some of the damage is done,” Marshall said. “They are not going to get all of that water back. As long as we continue phosphate mining in this state, we are going to continue having these large pools of radioactive water and radioactive waste.”
Although the Mosaic company says nobody is at risk from the leak, the firm said Monday they will offer nearby residents free, third-party testing of well water upon request.
Additionally, the company is offering bottled water to those who request it.
As of Monday afternoon, 70 water tests had been requested, and they are being prioritized based on how close they are to the New Wales facility.
Those interested in well tests or bottled water should call 813-500-6575.