A massive sinkhole opened at a Florida fertilizer plant and crews are urgently working to stop the flow of contaminated waste water into an aquifer.
The incident occurred at the Mosaic Company’s New Wells plant in Mulberry, Florida, located about 45 minutes east of Tampa.
The sinkhole was first discovered on Aug. 27 when water loss was detected from one of Mosaic’s phosphogypsum stacks. The water level decline was soon reported to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). Mosaic said the sinkhole is approximately 45 feet in diameter and reaches the Floridan aquifer. The depth of the sinkhole is unknown.
Officials told WPTV in West Palm Beach that over 215 million gallons of contaminated water has drained into the sinkhole. The company said extensive groundwater monitoring has found no offsite impacts thus far.
“While to date there is no evidence of offsite movement or threat to offsite groundwater supplies, in an abundance of caution, FDEP is coordinating with Mosaic to reach out to the nearest adjacent homeowners who may want testing for their drinking water wells,” FDEP spokesperson Dee Ann Miller told AccuWeather.
While the process water is being successfully contained, groundwater monitoring will continue to ensure that there are no offsite or long-term effects, Miller added.