New Wales Water Loss Incident
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New Wales Water Loss Incident

This page will provide updates on a sinkhole that formed in one compartment of Mosaic’s active gyp stack in New Wales. Questions may be directed to Callie Neslund at (863) 844-5327. The number to call for inquiries about testing or bottled water is (813) 500-6575 or you can email us at

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June 20, 2017 Report

New Wales Progress and Schedule Update

Earlier this month, Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC informed the Florida Department of Environmental Protection that the confining layer of the sinkhole has been substantially sealed and that additional time will be needed to safely and effectively complete the remaining repairs to the sinkhole. In response, FDEP required that we provide additional information regarding:

  • The cause and anticipated length of delay;
  • Measures to be taken to minimize delay; and
  • A timetable to implement these measures.

Today, Mosaic submitted that information to FDEP in a letter that addresses progress to date and proposes a revised schedule that includes a shift in some activities as work moves forward towards completion. Among other things, we are proposing that certain elements in the original schedule be re-sequenced so we can continue working safely during the summer storm season and a revised completion date of Spring 2018.

Further, we are proposing that the work pad be extended closer to the sinkhole and that additional bulk grout be added into the upper portion of the cavity. These activities will allow resumption of coring and high pressure grouting after the storm season using somewhat steeper drill angles that will reduce the potential for drilling complications.

From the outset, we have recognized that as we proceed with repairs, additional information about subsurface conditions would be developed that would inform remediation efforts. As we gain additional information, we propose an additional monthly meeting with FDEP to review progress, new information, and any factors affecting the timeline for repairs.

Our teams have worked diligently and effectively over the last ten months to repair the sinkhole, logging over 150,000 man-hours to date. More than 750,000 cubic yards of phosphogypsum have been moved to create a stable work area, 27 grout holes – some extended through the gypstack and into the ground – have been drilled and completed, and approximately 12,000 cubic yards of grout have been injected into the sinkhole. These significant efforts have substantially sealed the confining layer beneath the sinkhole, and we continue to demonstrate that the impacted water is being recovered and remains onsite.

We will meet with FDEP in the coming days to review these proposals and will share the updated work plan upon Department approval.

June 14, 2017 Report

New Wales Sinkhole Progress Update

Mosaic Fertilizer has made significant progress in remediating the New Wales sinkhole. The highlighted project accomplishments to date include:

• The confining layer has been substantially sealed;
• Piezometric water levels in the gypstack are back to pre-sinkhole levels, which indicates that downward flow of water has been substantially curtailed;
• Approximately 1,800 water samples continue to show no offsite impacts from the sinkhole;
• Impacted water remains, and continues to be captured, onsite at New Wales;
• More than 12,000 cubic yards of specially formulated concrete grout has been used to stabilize and repair the cavity.

As shared previously, our understanding of the exact size and shape of the cavity at the confining layer would be developed through the angled drilling process. Information collected during this process has added to our understanding and we now believe the diameter at the bottom is approximately 80 to 100 feet. As a result, grouting beyond what was planned for in the original project scope is expected to be needed to complete repairs to the confining layer and reinforce the seal now in place.

This scope change, along with the time it’s taking to drill and grout each hole, and the onset of the summer storm season – which constrains our ability to use tall drill rigs safely during high winds and lightning – necessitates some revisions to the current remediation schedule. Mosaic Fertilizer is working with FDEP to refine the schedule to account for scope revisions, the time it is taking to drill and grout each hole and weather factors, while incorporating steps to expedite completion of the project and minimize delays. We will share that information in the coming days.

Our priorities remain maintaining a safe work environment, completing the sinkhole and the confining layer repairs thoroughly and effectively, and recovering the process water that was lost.

June 9, 2017 Report

Protecting our Teams from Lightning Strikes

A single lightning bolt can contain more than one billion volts, enough electricity to inflict severe and often fatal injuries to people.

The University of Florida IFAS Extension Service says more deaths due to lightning occur in Florida than any other state, and approximately 94% of those deaths occur between late May and the end of September, or what we Floridians refer to as the summer storm season.

Because the central region of Florida is especially prone to lightning strikes, Mosaic Fertilizer is now exercising great caution to protect its employees and contractors working to repair the sinkhole at New Wales.
To do this, we’ve made investments in technology and installed a new lightning prediction system to provide notice when lightning is expected in the area. That platform, Thor-Guard, measures the energy differential between the ground and the air above the ground and can predict the probability of cloud-to-ground lightning strikes, generally within a 12 mile radius.

The sophisticated system can even filter out cloud-to-cloud lightning probability to avoid alerts that would otherwise cause downtime for conditions that do not pose a risk to Mosaic Fertilizer and its contractors.

Three Thor-Guard sensors are mounted around the New Wales project area to feed real time data into a master control unit. When the measured energy levels reach a preset threshold that indicates a high probability of cloud-to-ground lightning in the area, the system emits warning alerts, sending designated personnel a text to notify them of the danger to allow them to suspend operations and seek shelter.

Safety is a core value for Mosaic Fertilizer and its investment in Thor-Guard is a reflection of that commitment.

June 2, 2017 Report

Well Water Monitoring Remains a Priority

Confirming that the lost process water has not impacted offsite drinking water wells remains a priority for Mosaic Fertilizer since the sinkhole occurred last fall. Private drinking water wells can naturally vary in water quality for a variety of reasons, but our well sampling program is in place to analyze parameters and constituents that would be indicative of the lost process water, consisting of:

• pH;
• Conductivity;
• Turbidity;
• Sodium;
• Sulfate;
• Total Dissolved Solids (TDS);
• Fluoride; and
• Gross Alpha.

To date, nearly 1,800 samples continue to show no impacts from the sinkhole.

In general, laboratory water sample results evaluate the concentration of a certain constituent in the volume of water sampled. They typically are reported to well owners as milligrams per liter (mg/L) or micrograms per liter (µg/L).

Soil sampling is not part of this monitoring program. By way of background, soil samples evaluate the concentration of a given constituent in a specified amount of soil sampled. Those results typically are reported as milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) or micrograms per kilogram (µg/kg).

As specified in the consent order with FDEP, we will continue well water monitoring efforts through calendar year 2018.

You can learn more about the neighborhood sampling program in the “Your Questions and Our Answers” post on the New Wales incident page, dated May 25, 2017.

May 31, 2017 Report

A View From Above

A recent aerial view on the top of the New Wales gypstack.

Shown above, crews and contractors continue to drill and grout the sinkhole at New Wales. Piezometer readings have shown increases in water levels indicating that we are making further progress in repairing the confining layer.

May 26, 2017 Report

Mosaic Focuses on Safety

Safety is a core value for Mosaic, not only at New Wales but across our entire organization.

As part of our relentless pursuit of an injury-free workplace, Mosaic Fertilizer tracks and reports employee and contractor safety performance. In fact, 2016 was our fourth consecutive year of record safety performance.

Mosaic recently honored 136 of its contractors for excellence in safety leadership and performance at the annual Contractor Safety Awards luncheons in Florida and Louisiana. Notably, several of these contractors are actively supporting the sinkhole repair effort, including Hayward Baker and Moretrench – two firms we’ve recently profiled on the New Wales web page.

All job sites may pose unique safety challenges. The heightened amount of activity at the New Wales facility warrants an even greater emphasis on safety, which is why we’re proud to engage contractors that share our commitment to safety.

May 25, 2017 Report

Your Questions and Our Answers

Questions from the community are very important to us. Mosaic Fertilizer will be using the New Wales web page to answer frequently asked questions.

Q: Community members have been asking Mosaic Fertilizer to explain the ongoing residential well sampling program, specifically how long the tests continue and what the testing frequency will be.

In October 2016, Mosaic Fertilizer signed a comprehensive consent order with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to address the sinkhole. As described in the consent order, when requested, we are sampling drinking water wells in the community within a four mile radius of the sinkhole. Residential well testing is being performed quarterly through calendar year 2017 and then semiannually through calendar year 2018. First quarter (Q1) 2017 well tests were completed and continue to show no impacts from the sinkhole. Second quarter (Q2) 2017 well tests are underway and Mosaic Fertilizer will provide an update on the Q2 well testing when all sampling data have been received.

May 19, 2017 Report

Partner Spotlight: Hayward Baker

Several contractors and consultants are bringing specialized skills and expertise to help Mosaic Fertilizer repair the sinkhole. This partner spotlight series will highlight those firms and their efforts.

Hayward Baker is the largest specialty geotechnical construction company in the United States and has operated in Florida for more than 30 years. The company has a strong track record in the region, making them especially well-suited to repair the sinkhole.

When drilling and grouting expertise was needed, Mosaic Fertilizer called upon the company to help support the complex effort. Today, Hayward Baker has approximately 30 staff onsite at New Wales, made up of drillers, equipment operators, laborers, superintendents and more. In addition to its drilling, grouting and batch plant operations, Hayward Baker also helps other onsite contractors, mainly through supplying support personnel and handling material purchasing.

Hayward Baker is living up to its strong reputation, which it has built over a 60 year history. We’re pleased to have their expertise on our team.

May 17, 2017 Report

Elements of the Drilling and Grouting Plan

The two main elements of Mosaic Fertilizer’s drilling and grouting efforts are visually depicted below. During the initial stabilization phase, more than 11,000 cubic yards of grout were deposited in the base of the sinkhole cavity. During the deep injection grouting phase, Mosaic Fertilizer has been drilling angled holes to different depths beneath the gypstack to inject grout and re-establish the confining layer. These grouting methods are working as intended. Piezometer readings are now showing increases in water levels indicating that we are successfully plugging the confining layer.

This graphic is a simplified illustration of the grouting efforts.

May 12, 2017 Report

Second Quarter 2017 Well Sampling for Residents in Four Mile Radius Underway

Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. (ECT) is contacting residents that live within a four miles radius of the sinkhole, and who previously had their drinking water well sampled, to schedule their second quarterly well test for 2017. ECT is scheduling these samples and will have their drinking water wells tested as described in the consent order. Mosaic Fertilizer will provide an update on the Q2 well testing when all data have been collected and analyzed.

May 11, 2017 Report

First Quarter 2017 Sampling Results for Residential Wells within a Four Mile Radius

Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc. (ECT) completed first quarter 2017 testing of resident’s private drinking water wells located within a four mile radius of the sinkhole who had requested sampling. Well tests were performed in accordance with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (FDEP) Consent Order.

Private drinking water wells tested continue to show no impacts from the sinkhole.

This map provides an at-a-glance view of the 2017 first quarter well sampling results. Per the legend:

  • Green dots signify the location of tested wells that met all tested drinking water quality standards.
  • Purple dots signify the location of tested wells where one tested parameter was reported to be higher than a drinking water quality standard. To supplement Q1 results, some wells are undergoing additional testing and further evaluation to confirm water quality conditions.
  • Well test results continue to show no impacts from the sinkhole.

May 5, 2017 Report

A View From Above

A recent aerial view on the top of the gypstack.

Mosaic Fertilizer crews and contractors are using the red drilling rig (shown to the left) to drill angled holes so we can inject grout into the confining layer.

May 4, 2017 Report

New Wales Sinkhole Progress Update

Mosaic Fertilizer is committed to providing regular updates to the community on our progress in repairing the New Wales sinkhole. Since repairs began last fall, we have placed over 11,000 cubic yards of specially formulated concrete grout into the sinkhole cavity as part of the initial stabilization phase. Starting in February, we began to drill deep angled holes into the confining layer around the base of the sinkhole and inject cement grout to re-establish the confining layer under the gypsum stack.

The grouting is working as intended. Piezometer readings are now showing increases in water levels indicating that we are successfully plugging the confining layer. Those results confirm that we are using the right approach for the repairs. We have made substantial progress on sealing the confining layer, which is a significant milestone. Our grouting efforts will continue, as we work to reinforce the confining layer and complete the rest of the repairs.

Given the nature of the work, the angled drilling has proceeded more gradually than initially planned. More time has been needed to fully drill each hole, but we continue to make progress towards the mid-June target for completion of essential grouting activities. Though it is possible that supplemental grouting may continue after that date, we are working diligently to complete the project and are confident that the ongoing work will seal and restore the confining layer. Then, activities will be exclusively focused on rebuilding the base of the gypsum stack above the restored confining layer.

We have implemented measures to expedite completion of the repairs and will continue to look for opportunities to gain time on the schedule. Our priorities remain maintaining a safe work environment, completing the sinkhole and the confining layer repairs in a thorough and effective manner, and recovering the process water that was lost. We will continue to communicate our progress on the repairs and will provide a further update on the schedule in about a month.

For regular updates on our progress, please visit

April 28, 2017 Report

A Closer Look at the New Wales Manufacturing Facility in Mulberry

Mosaic’s New Wales facility manufactures various fertilizer and animal feed products to help the world grow the food it needs. In fact, New Wales has the capacity to produce more than four million tons of these essential products each year.

To create fertilizer and animal feed ingredients, the facility converts phosphate rock to a soluble form so it can be used as a nutrient by plants and animals. Sulfuric acid is mixed with phosphate rock to create phosphoric acid. Ammonia is then added to create water soluble granules farmers use for nourishing crops or feeding their animals.

From there, the final products are shipped by rail, truck and barge to customers around the world.

April 21, 2017 Report

Partner Spotlight: Moretrench

Several contractors and consultants are bringing specialized skills and expertise to help Mosaic Fertilizer repair the sinkhole. This partner spotlight series will highlight those firms and their efforts.

Moretrench, a leading geotechnical and construction company, has nearly 20 years’ experience supporting gypstack operations at New Wales, making it well-positioned to help as we repair the sinkhole. Moretrench is based in Florida, and has more than six employees onsite at New Wales.

During the sinkhole repair process, the Moretrench team has helped Mosaic Fertilizer analyze, design, and implement solutions to complex challenges. Among other things, Moretrench was instrumental in constructing a system to place LIDAR and other survey equipment in the sinkhole. They also built the work pad on and access roads to the gypstack, which allowed us to deploy a host of large and heavy, specialty equipment. Through those efforts, we moved more than 700,000 cubic yards of material.

Through its 120 year history, Moretrench has earned a strong reputation in the civil, environmental, construction and geotechnical engineering communities for its emphasis on safety, innovation and service. We are pleased to have them on the team.

April 20, 2017 Report

Defining the Terms – Piezometer

This series will further explain some of the technical terms used in our remediation posts.

This post defines the term “piezometer” which we use when referring to monitoring instruments in the gypstack.

A piezometer is a commonly used instrument to monitor subsurface water levels. Mosaic Fertilizer is using two types of piezometers at New Wales, standpipe piezometers and vibrating wire piezometers, to measure the water levels in and around the gypstack. As the deeper, higher pressure grouting progresses, the piezometers will show an increase in water levels, indicating the confining layer is being repaired. Pictured below are two piezometers installed at New Wales back in February 2017.

April 14, 2017 Report

Web Updates Will Resume Next Week

Updates to the New Wales Water Loss Incident page will resume the week of April 17, 2017.

We hope everyone has a wonderful holiday.

An aerial view of New Wales and the ongoing remediation activities.

April 14, 2017 Report

Partner Spotlight: Ardaman & Associates, Inc.

Several contractors and consultants are bringing specialized skills and expertise to help Mosaic Fertilizer repair the sinkhole. This partner spotlight series will highlight those firms and their efforts.

Repairing the sinkhole is a unique, complicated effort which requires specialized skills and expertise to complete it safely, effectively and efficiently. Ardaman & Associates, a geotechnical engineering consultancy, has a long history working on projects in the phosphate industry in Florida, making it especially suited to help Mosaic Fertilizer repair the sinkhole.

For almost 60 years, Ardaman has provided engineering services to the industry around the world, and worked on more than 70 gypstack projects on six continents.

Ardaman professionals are working alongside Mosaic Fertilizer to evaluate, design and implement many of the steps underway to aid in repairing the sinkhole. For example, they reviewed LiDAR and other survey data collected to define the extent of the cavity and assess the drilling and grouting efforts. Ardaman has also defined the safety perimeter and supported the installation of monitoring instrumentation in the gypstack.

Beyond its role in responding to the sinkhole, Ardaman helps design gypstacks and develops water management plans for these systems.

Ardaman is viewed by the industry and by regulators as a leading engineering resource working in the phosphate industry. In fact, its senior consultants have been appointed by the State of Florida to serve on the Technical Advisory Committees that assisted the FDEP in developing the Florida Administrative Code rules pertaining to the design and operation of gypstacks and related features.

April 7, 2017 Report

Mosaic Utilizing Company-wide Talent to Support Sinkhole Repairs

A safety specialist from Mosaic’s Esterhazy potash mine is taking her knowledge and experience from Canada to Florida for six months.

Jacki Hilts is on a temporary assignment to support her colleagues repairing the sinkhole.

She was selected because of her extensive experience supporting underground potash mining, which can include large scale drilling and grouting projects.

“This assignment is a great example of sharing talent across the company to work on projects that are critical to our business,” said Mosaic Director, EHSS-Potash, Holland Thompson.

In her new role, Hilts will be the Mosaic contact for all contract partners working on the grouting project.

Hilts said she is working closely with the contract partners to implement safety controls, further align their safety programs with Mosaic’s and consult on safety-related questions.

“I have been fortunate enough to work at the Esterhazy K2 mine for quite a while and have witnessed the strong safety culture there,” Hilts explained. “I am taking what I learned in Esterhazy and applying it here at New Wales.”