Mosaic scales back well testing!!

The Mosaic Corporation is denying their responsibility of continuing to tests wells for the areas surrounding the New Wales Plant where 215 million gallons of radioactive toxic water entered the Floridan aquifer in a sinkhole disaster in August 2016. The FDEP should require the continued testing of any Floridian resident wells who think their well water might be compromised by this enormous “accident”. There are 22 gypstacks in central Florida and each one of them has the potential to contaminate our water supply.

Mosaic scales back well testing for sinkhole neighbors

 POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Mosaic announced it will continue, through 2018, testing wells within a FOUR mile radius of the sinkhole that opened at its Mulberry fertilizer plant. The testing will be quarterly in 2017 and twice a year in 2018.

Testing began in September, shortly after Target 8 revealed 215 million gallons of contaminated water drained into the aquifer.

Mosaic claims a private company it hired, Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc., has conducted tests on 1,200 private wells.

Mosaic water testing

According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, 67 wells showed they contained contaminant levels that exceed the government’s drinking water standard. But the department states none of those wells was impacted by the water that escaped from the sinkhole at the plant.

While Mosaic and the state contend the contaminated water is contained on site, some neighbors just don’t have a lot of confidence in the testing that’s going on. “I have zero comfort,” Kristie Simpson said.

Simpson lives about five and a half miles west of the sinkhole. She was told tests on her well showed the water was safe to drink.

“Then later on my water started smelling different; there’s a lot of black stuff coming out of the pipes. My neighbors have that problem too,” Simpson said.

She claims she wanted her well tested for arsenic and other contaminants and was refused. Now she buys purified water and has filters on her showers.

At the root of her distrust is that the DEP waited for three weeks, until after Target 8 broke the story, to make public the threat of potential contamination. “So right there, there is zero integrity,” Simpson said.

She said Mosaic’s plan to test only wells within that four mile radius for another two years in not good enough.

Mosaic contends the ground water in the area of the sinkhole moves about 500 feet per month.

If that’s the case, Simpson argues the wells in the area should be tested for 20 or 30 years.

Mosaic also stopped delivering  bottled water to wells where tests came back within Environmental Protection Agency drinking water standards. It will continue delivering water through this month for those wells in which contaminants exceed standards.

Public Records Raise Questions About State’s Sinkhole Response

November 16, 2016
Press Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After making a public records request to the State of Florida for documents about the Polk County sinkhole, and experiencing weeks of delay in receiving a response, Congresswoman Gwen Graham today said that the records which were released raise serious questions about the response of the governor’s office and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to a potential crisis.

“Unless there are records that were not produced as required by law, the disclosures show an alarming lack of communication among state regulators about a threat to the health and safety of Florida families and our environment,” said Graham. “I am very concerned that we had a watchdog agency asleep at the wheel.”

According to the records, before the sinkhole was exposed by the media, nearly all of the electronic communications regarding the incident were email exchanges between the DEP and Mosaic employees. Records from the governor’s office and DEP contained very few internal communications between state employees concerning the sinkhole before it became public. And while there were several emails from the governor’s office about Graham’s questions, there were none demonstrating concern over the sinkhole and DEP’s response or examining potential solutions to the problem.

Equally concerning was the state’s communications with its own scientists, much of which appears to be instructions on how to handle questions from constituents and the press. At least one geologist, who has spent more than 20 years working for the state, raised concerns over the lack of information: “I’m working on that facility with EPA but no one told me about it [the sinkhole]. So much for communication.”

“These public records responses indicate communication has broken down within Governor Scott’s state agencies,” Graham said. “With this kind of threat to Florida families and the environment, the governor’s office and DEP should have been ringing alarm bells and taking swift action. Nothing in these records indicates they were operating with any sense of urgency. Either we are still missing documents, or the state didn’t particularly care. Neither situation is acceptable.”

The records from the governor’s office can be found, here. Emails from DEP can be found, here. Video footage of the sinkhole found in the emails can also be viewed, here.