September 23, 2016 Report
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September 23, 2016 Report

September 23, 2016   |   ShareThis

Walt Precourt, Senior Vice President of Phosphates for Mosaic shared a message to the community discussing next steps that was featured in Bradenton Herald and the Lakeland Ledger. Full text of his response can be found below.

Earlier this week, I addressed Polk County commissioners on the recent sinkhole and water loss incident at our New Wales production facility, and believe the updates and sentiments I shared are pertinent to the entire west-central Florida community.

On behalf of Mosaic, I would like to express our sincere regret that the sinkhole and loss of water have caused concerns for the community. We live and work here, too, and take our responsibility to protect the public and environment very seriously.

The health and safety of our 4,000 employees and local communities is paramount. When we realized we had major water loss at the gypsum stack on Aug. 28, we quickly notified the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Polk County.

Using test wells surrounding our facility, we immediately increased monitoring and took steps to remove as much water as possible from the leaking process pond. On Sept. 6, water dramatically receded, exposing the sinkhole. We are committed to recovering this water from the aquifer and preventing offsite impacts. To date, we have seen no such impacts.

We are working around the clock. FDEP is being updated daily and its representatives have been on site regularly, providing diligent oversight and assistance.

Understandably some of our neighbors are concerned about water coming from their wells. We are paying the cost of testing their wells, as well as providing bottled water to allay their concerns until their well tests are complete. We want our neighbors to not just be safe, but to have peace of mind.

We realize we could have done a better job 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.

- Walt Precourt, Senior Vice President of Phosphates for Mosaic

Well Testing Update

Partial results from samples that were collected during the first two days of well water tests have been received. Results will be released in two phases because some laboratory analyses take longer than others. The first phase will report on results for pH, conductivity, turbidity, sodium, sulfate, total dissolved solids (TDS) or mineralization, and fluoride. The second phase will cover results for Gross Alpha. First phase results from 52 tests have been received, and another 36 samples have been collected. Second phase results from these tests will be available in the next week.

The results received to date for the first phase analyses indicate health-based drinking water standards developed by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and adopted and enforced by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) have been met in every well. Further, the total mineralization levels, or TDS, in the wells vary, but fall within the range of values measured in eastern Hillsborough and western Polk Counties as reported by DEP, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Southwest Water Management District.

As of today, Mosaic has scheduled or collected a total of 386 well water tests through Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. (ECT). These are being prioritized based on their proximity to the New Wales facility. Neighbors who have requested an alternative means of testing are encouraged to receive a water test at no cost from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).

Testing and Bottled Water Requests as of September 23, 2016

As of 12:00 pm

Scheduled 3rd party well tests 386
Site visits/samples taken 88
Expected site visits today* 30 projected for Sat. & Sun.
Requests for bottled water 104

*Plans could change based on residents’ availability or inclement weather.