Click here for the 2020 Best of Orlando® Readers Poll ballot!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

DEP: State, company not legally required to tell neighbors about sinkhole

Posted By on Tue, Sep 20, 2016 at 1:00 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO VIA WFLA
If a massive 300-foot-deep sinkhole ever opens up on a company's property and drains acidic water into your drinking source, don't expect to be notified. 

The Tampa Bay Times reports that last month after a sinkhole opened underneath a gypsum stack at Mosaic, a Central Florida phosphate fertilizer plant, neither Mosaic nor three governmental agencies let nearby residents know that the sinkhole was dumping millions of gallons of contaminated water into one of the state’s main underground sources of drinking water, the Floridan aquifer.



A gypsum stack is a pile of phosphogypsum, a byproduct from the production of phosphate fertilizers. The Times reports Mosaic alerted the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Polk County, but wasn't legally required to alert its neighbors, saying: 
A DEP spokeswoman said state law doesn't require the state or the company involved to notify anyone until there's some sign the pollution has migrated outside the property where it went into the aquifer.

"Should there be any indication of offsite migration of contaminated groundwater, rules require the notification of affected parties," the DEP's Dee Ann Miller said in an email to the Tampa Bay Times. "However, to date there is no evidence of offsite movement or threat to offsite groundwater supplies."
Seventy of Mosaic's neighbors requested the free, third-party well tests the company is offering. The company is also giving out free bottled water. 

A Mosaic spokesperson says their analysis shows the contaminated water has not moved offsite. The Times reports Mosaic is using a recovery well to pump thousands of gallons of water from the aquifer back to the surface in an effort to recover contaminants. 

Tags: , , , , ,

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

June 3, 2020

View more issues

Calendar

© 2020 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation