September 20, 2016 Report
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September 20, 2016 Report

 
September 20, 2016   |   ShareThis

This morning, Walt Precourt, Senior Vice President of Phosphates for Mosaic addressed the Polk County Board of County Commissioners providing them with an update related to the sinkhole as well as the details of our recovery and remediation efforts. Walt was joined by Herschel Morris, Vice President of Phosphate Operations. The meeting which was streamed live can also be seen here.

Here are excerpts from Walt Precourt’s remarks as prepared:

“On behalf of Mosaic and our nearly 4,000 employees in Florida, we’d like to express our sincere regret that the sinkhole and water recovery operations on our property have caused concerns for the community.

“At Mosaic, the health and safety of our employees and our local communities is paramount. We live, work and raise our families here too, so we take our responsibility to protect the public and the environment very seriously.

“The day we confirmed a change in water level in the process water pond at the New Wales facility in Mulberry, we promptly notified the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Polk County.

“We immediately took steps to remove as much water from the leaking process pond as possible, and are now operating a recovery well to remove the rest of the water from the aquifer. Based on extensive monitoring data, no water from the stack has migrated off our property.

“Using test wells surrounding our facility, we immediately increased the frequency of water quality monitoring. The water samples from all of these test wells continue to test normal, indicating that there has been no offsite impact.

“Understandably some of our neighbors who live near the New Wales facility are concerned about water coming from their wells. We don’t want our operations to cause concern or worry among our neighbors, so to allay any concern, we’re reaching out to our neighbors and offering to pay for the cost of testing their wells. Some neighbors have requested bottled water, and to allay their concerns, we are providing that too until their well tests are complete. We want our neighbors to not just be safe, but to have peace of mind.

“Since August 28, when we realized we had major water loss at the gypsum stack, we have been working closely and constructively with state environmental regulators. We update the Florida Department of Environmental Protection daily and its representatives have been on site regularly, providing us with diligent oversight and assistance in rectifying this situation.

“Our Mosaic team continues to work around the clock to review the situation, and our response to it. We continue to analyze the situation, and our response to it, and we realize we could have done a better job in providing timely information to our neighbors and the broader community.

“I regret and apologize for not providing information sooner, and am committed to providing regular updates to the public as we move forward. As new information is available, we will be posting it on our website, and providing continued updates to regulators, the press, our local community, and most importantly our neighbors.

“Mosaic has a long history of working closely with our neighbors and the communities where we operate, and we will work hard to honor our commitment to them now and in the future.”

Well Testing Update

We previously informed the community that Mosaic is offering free, third-party testing of their drinking water well upon request.

Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. (ECT) will collect the well samples. More information about ECT can be found at: http://www.ectinc.com/.

Neighbors who have requested alternative means of testing are encouraged to receive a water test at no cost from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Mosaic has scheduled 69 third party well water tests through ECT, which are being prioritized based on their proximity to the New Wales facility.

While our monitoring indicates the water from the gyp stack has remained on site, ECT will have the wells tested for minerals indicative of water from the gyp stack. Most results will be available within a few days of sample collection.

Mosaic also is offering free bottled water to those who request it, until they receive confirmation that their well water has not been impacted by the water from the gyp stack.

Municipal systems are not included as part of the sampling that ECT will perform. Unlike private wells, municipal water systems already undergo frequent sampling pursuant to state or federal regulations.

Community members who are interested in testing or bottled water may call 813-500-6575 .

Scheduled 3rd party well tests 69
Site visits/samples taken 12
Expected site visits today 20
Requests for bottled water 6

Testing and Bottled Water Requests as of September 20, 2016

12:00 p.m. EST

Of the 69 scheduled tests, 12 were completed September 19; another 20 site visits were scheduled for today.