Florida Phosphate Operations
Frequently Asked Questions
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.