Mosaic pond leaks 215M gallons of 'slightly radioactive' water

Shayla Reaves reports

- Mosaic says 215 million gallons of "slightly radioactive" water has leaked into the Florida aquifer since August 27 after a sinkhole opened under a retention pond in Mulberry.

It's happening at Mosaic's New Wales plant in Polk County. A representative for Mosiac told FOX 13 News the plant stores wastewater in ponds on top of a huge gypsum stack.

The representative said they noticed the water level in one of the ponds dropping on August 27. About a week later, they confirmed a sinkhole had opened beneath the gypsum stack.

By that time, 215 million gallons of "slightly radioactive" water had drained into the Florida aquifer.

"We activated recovery wells... Capture the flow and pull it back into the plant," explained David Jellerson, the director of environmental & phosphate projects for Mosaic. "And we also have quite a number of monitoring wells and have increased the monitoring schedule to confirm nothing has left the perimeter of the site."

Mosaic says it immediately notified the state Department of Environmental Protection and the EPA, adding the groundwater has been routinely tested since the sinkhole was confirmed. 

Sodium and sulfate are the contaminants of concern, along with phosphoric acid. Mosaic says, so far, none of those contaminants have shown up in the monitoring wells it has around the plant.

Mosaic said it will continue to monitor and remediate the groundwater beneath the sinkhole until DEP gives the all-clear.

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