Sept 16 A sinkhole spanning 45 feet (13.7
meters) in diameter opened at a Mosaic Co phosphate
fertilizer facility in Florida, leaking radioactive water, the
company said on Friday.
Mosaic said its monitoring system at its New Wales facility
at Mulberry, Florida showed a decline in water levels on Aug. 27
from the retention pond of a phosphogypsum stack. Phosphogypsum
is a radioactive byproduct resulting from the production of
The sinkhole damaged the liner system at the base of the
stack, causing the pond on top to drain. Seepage continued and
the sinkhole has reached Florida's aquifer, Mosaic said on its
website on Thursday. The aquifer may contain groundwater that
could be contaminated by water from the sinkhole.
The incident released 215 million gallons of "slightly
radioactive" water into the aquifer, Mosaic spokesman Ben Pratt
The Minnesota-based company said it had increased monitoring
and sampling of groundwater and found no offsite impacts, and
pumped water out of the affected pond to reduce the volume of
It is attempting to recover the water through production
wells on site.
The incident has not interrupted operations at the facility,
where Mosaic makes phosphate fertilizer.
Mosaic said it immediately reported the incident to state
and federal authorities.
(Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by