September 29, 2016 Report
Global English [ Change Region ]

September 29, 2016 Report

September 29, 2016   |   ShareThis

Setting the Record Straight: Early Morning Edition of Associated Press Story Factually Incorrect

An early-morning version of an Associated Press story incorrectly stated that “the Mosaic Co… acknowledged Wednesday that the contamination is spreading in the groundwater.”

The reporter misunderstood the difference between the well that Mosaic is operating to recover the water that entered into the sinkhole at its New Wales property and monitoring wells that are located on the perimeter of Mosaic’s property. To be clear: the data collected from our existing Floridan aquifer monitoring wells continue to show no signs of offsite impact.

Additionally, the story quoted a resident claiming that “the company is advising people not to drink their well water.” This is also incorrect. Results from water tests of residential wells continue to show there are no signs of offsite impact. Mosaic is taking an additional step and offering bottled water to residents while their wells are being tested to provide them with peace of mind.

Finally, the story also stated that “A Mosaic employee discovered the sinkhole Aug. 27.” This statement is also incorrect. On August 28, Mosaic confirmed a water loss, which was reported to regulators. However, it was not apparent until September 6 that a sinkhole formed under the west cell on its New Wales property.

Representatives from Mosaic have been in contact with the Associated Press and the story has been updated.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What happened at the New Wales facility?
    • On Saturday, August 27, monitoring systems revealed a change in water level in the process pond atop the west compartment of the South gypsum stack at our New Wales facility. Additional testing on Sunday, August 28, confirmed water loss from the process pond.
    • We promptly notified Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Polk County, and started the process to remove water from the affected process pond, alerting us to the presence of the sinkhole.
    • We have been working with FDEP to monitor the surrounding area, both onsite and offsite, to make sure the leaked process water did not reach any off site soil or water. We can report with certainty that there have been no off site consequences from this event.
  • Is my drinking water contaminated?
    • No. Water in the Floridan aquifer moves slowly, approximately 500 feet per month. We immediately took steps to remove as much water from the process pond as possible, and activated our recovery well to remove this water from the aquifer. Based on extensive monitoring of ground water, no water from the stack has migrated off our property.
    • We are relying on elements of our extensive monitoring network around the facility and to test the aquifer. The water samples from these wells continue to test normal, indicating that there has been no offsite impact.
    • Understandably some residents who live near the New Wales facility are concerned about their wells. To further provide assurance to our neighbors and to help allay concerns, we’re offering to pay for well testing and to provide free bottled water until their well tests are complete.
  • Why did it take so long for you to notify the public?
    • Since August 28, we’ve been working to address issues caused by the sinkhole and prevent any consequences to surrounding community. To that end, we can confirm water samples from all of these test wells continue to test normal, indicating that there has been no offsite impact. While we immediately made all the proper notifications to federal, state and local regulators, we realize we could have done a better job in providing timely information to the community.
    • We are 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.
  • What are you doing to fix this problem?
    • Our Mosaic team continues to work around the clock to review the situation, and our response to it.
    • We are developing a plan to plug the sinkhole, which will likely include the use of concrete-like grout to seal the pathway that has opened into the aquifer.
    • These plans will be finalized following our assessment of the sinkhole, which will include surveying the cavity using equipment that will be lowered into it.
    • All of these procedures will be undertaken with the objective of implementing the best and most effective solution with maximum attention to the safety of those working on this effort and the surrounding community.

Daily Well Testing Update

As of today, Mosaic has received 741 well water test requests. Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. (ECT) is prioritizing testing based on neighbor’s 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 29, 2016

As of 12:00 pm

Scheduled 3rd party well tests 741
Site visits/samples taken 229
Expected site visits today* 37
Requests for bottled water 397

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