MULBERRY, Fla. - An expecting mother who lives about ten miles from the Mosaic toxic sinkhole is getting mixed messages about the radioactivity level of her well water.
Last week, Jennifer Lester received a call from ECT out of Tampa — the company Mosaic hired to test private wells. The man in charge told her that her drinking water came back with high levels of radioactivity.
The news stopped her in her tracks.
“I can’t even sleep at night because I’m worrying for my unborn baby, worrying for my family, my future family and even my neighbors,” she said.
Representatives from the company returned to her property today to retest the water, to verify the results. They don’t expect answers for another week.
After ABC Action News called ECT for comment, Lester received a surprise call back saying that her water isn’t as bad as first thought.
Now she doesn’t know what to believe.
“I would like to have answers really, having some peace of mind,” Lester said.
ECT along with officials at the Florida DEP insist that the few private wells that are coming back with high levels of radioactivity are not related to the sinkhole a few miles away, and instead are caused by “natural geology”.
The hole drained a retainment pond filled with about 215-million gallons of slightly radioactive water used in the fertilizer manufacturing process.
The water seeped all the way into the aquifer, but company officials maintain that it’s catching the contaminated water and pumping it out.
Experts tell ABC Action News that the radioactivity from natural geology is at a level that you could still wash your clothes, and bath in if you don’t have deep cuts. Drinking it is not recommended and could be hazardous over a long period of time.
At one point, Lester thought Zika would be her biggest challenge this pregnancy.
“Now we have bigger issues than Zika,” she said.
She and her family are now looking for an independent testing company to take another look at her water.