Central Florida Residents Concerned About Drinking Water After Sinkhole Leak

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TAMPA (CBSMiami) — Residents in Central Florida are concerned about their drinking water after a sinkhole opened up 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.

“We make jokes around here that when he start to glow after a shower, we’ll know we’re in trouble,” said Lithia resident Joyce Hunter.

Jokes aside, Hunter has some serious questions about the water quality at her home in Lithia – just a few miles from Mosaic’s New Wales plant.

“I’m not expecting doomsday around here but the big thing is we want to know. We just want to know if the water is drinkable,” said Hunter.

That’s why she’s having two wells on her property tested. Mosaic is bringing in a third party testing company for anyone who requests it.

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

Technically, the plant is outside of Mulberry city limits but people there are worried about their drinking water too, so the city is testing more often.

“We have quadrupled testing at this point. We’re testing it four times a day,” said City Manager Rick Johnson.

 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. (Courtesy: WTVT)

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. (Courtesy: WTVT)

So far, all the tests have come back normal.  As proof, the city’s public works director drank the water himself. Despite that, City Manager Rick Johnson said he would’ve liked a heads up about the sinkhole.

City officials found out about it almost three weeks after it opened.

“Well hearing it on the news, you know, caught us a little bit flat-footed,” said Johnson.

He says the company’s now keeping the city in the loop but Mosaic is defending its decision not to tell them when it all started.

“Not only was there no public health risk anyway, but there certainly wouldn’t have been to Mulberry’s public water supply,” said Jackie Barron, Mosaic Public Affairs Manager.

The company is willing to prove that, one well at a time.

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