Agencies – A phosphate company says more than 200 million gallons of contaminated water from a fertilizer plant in central Florida leaked into one of the state’s main underground sources of drinking water after a massive sinkhole opened up beneath a storage pond.
Mosaic, the world’s largest supplier of phosphate, said the hole opened up beneath a pile of waste material called a “gypsum stack.”
The 215-million gallon storage pond sat atop the waste mineral pile. The company said the sinkhole is about 45 feet in diameter.
Mosaic says it’s monitoring groundwater and has found no offsite impacts. The company said it’s working to recover the water.
The Polk County phosphate plant is still running. The water had been used to transport the gypsum, which is a byproduct of fertilizer production.
A spokeswoman for Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection said the company was updating state and federal agencies on the situation.
Dee Ann Miller said her agency was doing frequent site visits to safeguard public health.
“While monitoring to date indicates that the process water is being successfully contained, groundwater monitoring will continue to ensure there are no offsite or long-term effects,” she said.
The sinkhole later caused the waste pond to drain, and the contaminated water has now seeped into the aquifer.
Aquifers are massive underground systems of porous rocks that hold water.

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