Sinkhole Opens Beneath Radioactive Waste Storage, Discharges 215 Million Gallons Into Aquifer

Drinking water supply in Central Florida threatened by massive radioactive waste discharge from phosphate plant

Contamination from fertilizer operations are a growing statewide problem as repeat offender repeats again.

It took the company 3 weeks to notify the public that about the incident: 215 million gallons of radioactive waste water used to process fertilizer leaked from a storage pond when a 45 foot sinkhole opened up beneath it. Mosaic Fertilizer Company reported the event took place at its New Wales Facility in Mulberry, Florida in the central part of the state, about 30 miles west of Tampa.

The company says that the radioactive waste leaked into the Floridian aquifer that supplies drinking water to several million people, and extends into southern Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. It supplies the Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Gainesville, Orlando, Daytona Beach, Tampa, and St. Petersburg and is one of the most productive aquifers in the world.

It ain’t all that radioactive though, says Mosaic. Jes a little. If that is the case, why not report the incident immediately? Perhaps because people might want to monitor radiation levels in the water supply independently?

It was only a year ago that Mosaic settled a landmark environmental lawsuit with the EPA, which cost the company about $2 billion in fines and promises to fix things up. Guess they haven’t had time yet…

Toxic waste from fertilizer plants has been a problem in Florida for decades. But it’s Florida, so not much really gets done about it. If the media reported on such matters, the Republican state legislature would be well known for diverting state funds originally earmarked for environmental protection.

The state is currently undergoing a slow moving ecodisaster in the form of a multi-year toxic algae slime invasion that has closed beaches and recreational waters in two southeastern counties. [More on that story]

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