florida sinkhole

    Published: September 22, 2016

    What to Do About the Sinkhole Leak in Central Florida

    Citizens in Central Florida are gravely concerned after a sinkhole caused more than 250 million gallons of toxic waste to leak into a fresh water aquifer in Polk County, Florida, which is used as the primary source of drinking water for the state. Among the harmful contaminants in the wastewater is phosphogypsum, a radioactive substance that’s a byproduct of the process of making phosphate fertilizer.

    Mosaic, the company that owns the plant, stated that the leak did not pose a threat to the general public’s health. David Jellerson, Mosaic’s senior director for environmental and phosphate projects, told the Associated Press that “groundwater moves very slowly” and there is no cause for alarm.

    However, Mosaic and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) have known about the leak since late August, choosing not to inform the public for several weeks. Residents of Mulberry, Lithia and other surrounding cities are not satisfied with the lack of action from Mosaic.

    Rick Johnson, Mulberry city manager, expressed that he would have liked information from the get-go regarding the leak. “Hearing it on the news, you know, caught us a little bit flat-footed,” he stated, according to CBS Miami.

    Mosaic does not have a clean track record of safeguarding the public from waste: just last year Mosaic paid $2 billion in a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) precisely because of the company’s hazardous waste pollution. In the wake of this latest spill, Johnson emphasized that he is having Mulberry’s water tested four times a day.

    Families in Central Florida are frustrated that more isn’t being done to reassure them that their water supply isn’t contaminated. “We just want to know if the water is drinkable,” said Joyce Hunter, a Lithia resident. “We make jokes around here that when we start to glow after a shower, we’ll know we’re in trouble,” she added.

    So what can you do if you live in Central Florida? The first step is to have any private wells on your property tested for contamination. Many families in Florida utilize private wells, but even these can leech in contaminants from groundwater.

    Mosaic has promised to bring in a third party company for anyone who requests to have their wells tested. If you want to take control yourself order a Pelican Complete 32-Point Water Test. Conduct a separate test for each well on your property.

    If your water is supplied through the public water utility there is always a risk that the wastewater could infect the water being pumped into your home. The water in the area is being tested, but to be safe you should install a Pelican Pro 6-Stage RO System in your home to remove contaminants.

    The main issue is accountability – though Mosaic has stated they are working on the problem, definitive evidence of progress has not been delivered to the public. “They say they have it fixed or are working on fixing the problem, but where’s the proof,” Lee Cole, a local resident, told WTSP. Until there is proof, take the necessary steps to protect your family from phosphogypsum contamination, plus other contaminants in your water. If you are concerned and want to speak to a Pelican Water Specialist call 877-842-1635.

    Reference: BBC