First Hearing Set For Massive Mosaic Sinkhole

Public Hearing Set On Massive Sinkhole At Mosaic Fertilizer Plant

Polk County residents will have the chance to hear about the safety of drinking water in the first public hearing addressing the Mosaic Fertilizer sinkhole that sent millions of gallons of contaminated water into Florida main aquifer.

Polk County officials say residents can learn more about Mosaic company’s ongoing well testing on Monday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Efforts to plug the sinkhole at the New Wales site and their monitoring program will also be discussed at this public hearing.

For those interested in attending, the meeting will be held in Fellowship Hall at the Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist.

Background On The Mosaic Sinkhole

A Mosaic pond has leaked about 215 million gallons of “slightly radioactive” water into the Florida aquifer since August 27 when a sinkhole opened up under a retention pond, says Mosaic.

The drainage is happening at Mosaic’s New Wales plant off of Highway 640 in Polk County. The plant sits on top of a huge gypsum stack and stores wastewater in ponds.

State law does not require public notification until the pollution shows up outside the boundaries of a landowner’s property, but Governor Rick Scott is trying to change that. Initially Scott defended the DEP for staying silent, then announced his disagreement with the law and his plans to change it. The DEP was told by Scott to begin requiring any company or government agency that has a pollution spill to report the incident to the public within 24 hours, using the media.

Photo: WFLA
Photo: WFLA

Footage of the sinkhole showed it is 152 feet across at its widest point, and 220 feet deep – making it one of the deepest sinkholes in the state. In fact, the deepest sinkhole ever measured by the Florida Geological Survey went down 250 feet, according to Florida Department of Environmental Protection records.

Mosaic Company is also facing a lawsuit from surrounding neighbors. Morgan and Morgan attorneys filed the class action lawsuit at the Federal Courthouse in downtown Tampa in September. The lawsuit seeks to recover damages, including for the residents’ possible losses of private wells, and for water testing, monitoring and treatment.