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FL Fertilizer Plant Leaks 215 Mil Gallons of Radioactive Water into Aquifer

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posted on Sep, 17 2016 @ 03:41 AM
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A sink hole, 45 feet in diameter, drained 215 million gallons of radioactive water from the retention pond of a phosphogypsum stack at Mosaic Co's New Wales facility in Mulberry, Florida on August 27th.

So what's phosphogypsum?

From Wikipedia:


Phosphogypsum refers to the gypsum formed as a by-product of the production of fertilizer from phosphate rock. It is mainly composed of gypsum (CaSO4·2H2O). Although gypsum is a widely used material in the construction industry, phosphogypsum is usually not used, but is stored indefinitely because of its weak radioactivity. The long range storage is controversial.

Phosphogypsum is radioactive due to the presence of naturally occurring uranium and thorium. Marine-deposited phosphate typically has a higher level of radioactivity than igneous phosphate deposits, because uranium is present in seawater. Phosphogypsum also can contain high levels of cadmium.

Central Florida has a large quantity of phosphate deposits, particularly in the Bone Valley region. However, the marine-deposited phosphate ore from central Florida is weakly radioactive, and as such, the phosphogypsum by-product (in which the radionuclides are somewhat concentrated) is too radioactive to be used for most applications. As a result, there are about 1 billion tons of phosphogypsum stacked in 25 stacks in Florida (22 are in central Florida) and about 30 million new tons are generated each year.


Stacks are essentially mounds of phosphogypsum with retention ponds on the top. Here's a picture of another of Mosaic's stacks which had breached:



That breach was part of a case which Mosaic settled with the EPA last year (10 years after the formal complaint was filed) for what will ultimately be $1.8 billion to clean up their messes and insure that future closures will not be environmental disasters.

In the event that you don't read the article at that link, it suffices to say that the company has a long history of malfeasance and it's important to keep that in mind as I relay the rest of this. Mosaic is reportedly attempting to pump what it can from wells at the site and monitoring the spread. The company characterizes the waste water as 'slightly radioactive' (if I'm not mistaken, it's also more than 'slightly' acidic) but not everyone is quick to believe what these habitual offenders are saying:

Florida sinkhole at Mosaic fertilizer site leaks radioactive water


The Minnesota-based company immediately reported the incident to state and federal environmental authorities, Mosaic spokesman Ben Pratt said on Friday. But it did not otherwise report it publicly until posting information on its website on Thursday, he said.


The nearly three-week gap between detecting the sinkhole and reporting it to the public is alarming, said Jacki Lopez, Florida director of the Center for Biological Diversity.

"It’s hard to trust them when they say 'Don’t worry,' when they’ve been keeping it secret for three weeks," she said.

The sinkhole, located about 30 miles from Tampa, damaged the liner system at the base of the stack, causing the pond on top to drain. Seepage continued and the sinkhole reached Florida's aquifer, Mosaic said on its website.

Specific environmental and health concerns are the release of uranium, radium and radon gas, Lopez said. Once contaminants reach the aquifer, which extends from central Florida to Georgia, they can potentially travel hundreds of miles, she said.

"We don't know what the long-term effects will be," said Lopez. "If I were living in this area, and I had well water, I would be worried about my health."


It happened three weeks ago and not only did the company not release this information to the public, neither did the state or federal authorities? WTF.

I'm not a hydrologist/hydrogeologist but I imagine the Floridan aquifer contains trillions and trillions of gallons of water. At first blush it might seem that because the leak is a small amount in comparison to the total volume of the aquifer, the contaminated water and it's levels of radiation would be quickly diluted. However, it's not like a drop into a swimming pool — aquifers have a lot of variance in transmissivity — and it seems likely from what I can gather that nobody can say much of anything with any certainty regarding how the contamination will spread and what the impact will be.
edit on 2016-9-17 by theantediluvian because: (no reason given)




posted on Sep, 17 2016 @ 05:30 AM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

Just a wild guess, but they may have thought they could contain the initial leak. Then only went public after realizing the full extent of it. Or they didn't want to cause a panic by alerting the public until they'd worked out the legal ramifications and a plan to minimize damage from the leak.

And sometimes companies will threaten to file for bankruptcy in order to avoid major lawsuits/legal ramifications (I'm pretty sure Tepco threatened this early in the nuclear crisis). The 3 week delay could've been because of negotiations between govt agencies, lawyers, and the executive of this plant's parent company. (note: I'm not agreeing w/this tactic; just pointing out why they may have delayed notifying the public.)



posted on Sep, 17 2016 @ 06:07 AM
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a reply to: enlightenedservant

There's all that, but other technical items such as figuring out what even happened, to what extent 'what' even happened, the ramifications of 'what', etc. Go making press releases before figuring out what the deal even is you'd look like a total douche outfit (while causing peoples imaginations to run wild).
edit on 17-9-2016 by IgnoranceIsntBlisss because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 17 2016 @ 06:34 AM
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I blame the government for not having them use a better disposal method. They allowed the company to store it this way and now it polluted the ground water for hundreds of miles. But instead of taking the blame for poor regulations they will probably get some money out of the deal. Everyone in the effected area should sue the company and the government for damages and access to free clean water too.



posted on Sep, 17 2016 @ 06:51 AM
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Thanks for the heads up, shot a message to my dad, he lives close enough to be concerned.

Wish I could claim surprise... Most of my life FL politicians are only concerned about making money at all levels.



posted on Sep, 17 2016 @ 07:53 AM
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a reply to: IgnoranceIsntBlisss

I agree.



posted on Sep, 17 2016 @ 08:20 AM
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originally posted by: MichiganSwampBuck
I blame the government for not having them use a better disposal method. They allowed the company to store it this way and now it polluted the ground water for hundreds of miles. But instead of taking the blame for poor regulations they will probably get some money out of the deal. Everyone in the effected area should sue the company and the government for damages and access to free clean water too.


Couldn't agree more MSB.

The Government and company are different sides of the same coin.

The people living there lose as usual.



Stacks are essentially mounds of phosphogypsum with retention ponds on the top. Here's a picture of another of Mosaic's stacks which had breached:

Is this setup typical AD? It looks like the retention pond gets higher and more susceptible the longer the mining continues.

That does NOT look like a safe setup to me, but I am a laymen here.



posted on Sep, 17 2016 @ 02:42 PM
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a reply to: stosh64


Is this setup typical AD? It looks like the retention pond gets higher and more susceptible the longer the mining continues.


According to what I read last night it is and it's what they've been doing going back to at least the 50's. There's a lot of raw material resulting from the processing and only so many things that could be done with it because it's somewhat radioactive which makes it unsuitable for most purposes.

The wiki page lists some alternatives that have been suggested.

One thing that has changed is that the stacks now have liners similar to what is done with landfills these days to retard leaching of toxic substances into the aquifer. That would I imagine include something like compacted earth overlaid with a non-permeable barrier. However, in this case, the sinkhole caused the liner to be breached.



posted on Sep, 17 2016 @ 02:59 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

Here is a Consent Decreee showing a penalty being levied:


Within thirty (30) Days after the Effective Date of this Consent Decree, Mosaic shall pay the sum of $4,100,000.00 as a civil penalty, together with Interest accruing from the date on which the Consent Decree is lodged with the Court, at the rate specified in 28 U.S.C. § 1961 as of the date of lodging, in accordance with Paragraphs 10 and 11.


.pdf on epa.gov

Here is a good google search for a LOT more similar documents. It looks like they're a known problem.



posted on Sep, 17 2016 @ 03:55 PM
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a reply to: jadedANDcynical

4milions is a penalty. That's like if you kill a man you get 1day jail.

This companies have roots in government and because of that they will not be properly penalised.

How many people will die because of this? How many animals?

And just look at that picture, that area looks like Mars, rotten and red. Do they pay penalty for that too or is this normal to destroy life on such a big property.



posted on Sep, 17 2016 @ 04:05 PM
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An act of God as a sinkhole is considered. In reality it is an event that
can be planned for and areas susceptible determined using scientific
methods that don't exist yet.

The fix is in pumping and removal of all waste somehow. It is imperative
and a matter of murder or not if people die as a result of the poison in
the water. I know I'm going to all bottled except to bathe.

They swim in and trace out the aquifer all the while ignoring the upper
layers of limestone and sand.





a reply to: theantediluvian


edit on 17-9-2016 by Drawsoho because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 17 2016 @ 04:16 PM
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I have driven right past this area on St. Road 60. You can see those mounds from the road.. I never
even knew they were just a huge radioactive pile of dirt!!! I will try to get some pictures but when you drive down
through there these hills are the ONLY thing in sight.. I figured they were just excavated dirt to get to the phosphate. WOW



posted on Sep, 17 2016 @ 04:57 PM
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I live in Orlando which gets its water from zepherhills but my mom lives in Port Charlotte which is right beside the River that spilled into where it lets out into the ocean. All I can say is thanks for the heads up I just let them know not to drink or use tap water and stay out of the bay for a bit.



posted on Sep, 18 2016 @ 10:13 PM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

This is serious!!






posted on Sep, 19 2016 @ 06:09 AM
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originally posted by: theantediluvian

A sink hole, 45 feet in diameter, drained 215 million gallons of radioactive water from the retention pond of a phosphogypsum stack at Mosaic Co's New Wales facility in Mulberry, Florida on August 27th.



This is only one symptom, of a disease that has no solution. I realized that humans are not actually mammals. Every mammal on Earth instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but humans do not. Humans move to an area and multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way humans can survive is to spread to another area (planet). Human beings are a disease, a cancer of planets (i.e. Earth).


edit on 2016-9-19 by galien8 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 19 2016 @ 06:18 AM
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a reply to: galien8

We are virus. We multiple until we kill, but don't think we will kill earth, mother nature will prevail, as soon as she says it is enough, we will be gone in a second, day or year, it all depends on her mercy and the way she wants to get rid of us.

For example, this sinkhole, mother nature have no problem with radioactivity. Since she was born radioactivity was around her.
edit on 19-9-2016 by saadad because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 19 2016 @ 10:05 PM
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originally posted by: galien8
originally posted by: theantediluvian





This is only one symptom, of a disease that has no solution. I realized that humans are not actually mammals. Every mammal on Earth instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but humans do not. Humans move to an area and multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way humans can survive is to spread to another area (planet). Human beings are a disease, a cancer of planets (i.e. Earth).


We were actually intended to be custodians to the earth.
But we have become a disease instead. Why? Because we think we know it all.
Meanwhile a sioux nation leads a protest against a pipeline.


edit on Rpm91916v06201600000018 by randyvs because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 20 2016 @ 12:58 PM
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It happened three weeks ago and not only did the company not release this information to the public, neither did the state or federal authorities? WTF.


They actually notified the government right when it was detected. It's the government that sat on it.

It's not too far from me (I'm near Plant City). Since we have a well, we routinely test our own water. So far, no trouble. We have local agencies and environmental groups watching it closely as well.

Note, Mosaic has many facilities in the area. This is specifically the one in Mulberry. So if you look it up, look for that one.




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