Sinkhole Leaks Contaminated Water Into Florida’s Drinking Supply, Testing Underway

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TAMPA (CBSMiami) —  A massive sinkhole opened up in central Florida causing more than 200 million gallons of contaminated waste water from a fertilizer plant to leak into one of the state’s main underground sources of drinking water, a phosphate company says.

Mosaic, the world’s largest supplier of phosphate, said the hole opened up beneath a pile of waste material called a “gypsum stack.” The company said the water had been used to transport the gypsum, which is a byproduct of fertilizer production.

Mosaic says it’s monitoring groundwater and has found no offsite impacts. Despite that, the company says they are offering free, third-party testing of their drinking water but only if it’s requested.

As of Monday, the company said they had received 70 requests and are prioritizing based on the proximity to the New Wales facility.

The company is also offering free bottled water “until they receive confirmation that their well water has not been impacted by the water from the gyp stack.”

The 215-million gallon storage pond sat atop the waste mineral pile. The company said the sinkhole is about 45 feet in diameter.

Mosaic, the world's largest supplier of phosphate, said a sinkhole opened up beneath a pile of waste material called a "gypsum stack." (Courtesy: WTVT)

Mosaic, the world’s largest supplier of phosphate, said a sinkhole opened up beneath a pile of waste material called a “gypsum stack.” (Courtesy: WTVT)

 

The sinkhole, discovered by a worker on August 27th, is believed to reach down to the Floridan aquifer, the company said.

The company said municipal systems are not included as part of the sampling that the third-party company will perform since, they say, the municipal water systems already undergo frequent testing.

Member of the community who are interested in testing or bottled water can call (813) 500- 6575.

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