Radioactive Water Seeping into a Bay Area Water Supply

Sinkhole at Mosaic in Mulberry Caused the Leak
Posted at 7:08 PM, Sep 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-16 19:08:20-04

200-million gallons of contaminated water is already in the Floridan Aquifer. Action Air One is showing today more is still getting in there.

This situation is very concerning for people who live around the Mosaic Phosphate facility in Mulberry.

It's an open wound into the water supply.  Water James Branch drinks.

"Everybody out here is on wells, so they should have had somebody tell them  that.

Dr. Phillip Van Beynen is a geologist at USF. As Action Air One flew over the sinkhole, we watched the live-stream on the ABC Action News app.

"My first impression is that the size and depth it must have been a very large void," he said as he reacted in real time to what he saw with his expert eyes.




"There are a couple of ways you can get sinkholes forming, one is you draw all the water underneath and that surface collapses , or you can have a lot of weight and if you increase it that leads to the collapse of the void under the ground," he says.

To put it another way, think of the Florida Aquifer like a sponge. It's very porous because of the limestone and if you pour that water on top and as it gets saturated, the dirty water seeps through.

"It can be dramatic when you think about the region because farmers are going to be using the water , they can contaminate the crops , people use this as drinking water if they are not o city water," says Dr. Van Beynen.

Dr. Van Beynen believes the contamination will be confined to immediate area near the Mosaic plant in Mulberry. Giving folks like James branch reason to ask questions.

"What's going on?," Branch asks. A question a lot of people in Hillsborough and Polk county are now asking.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Mosaic company officials both say the water is safe and the contamination of the Aquifer contained.

The Sinkhole first opened up three weeks ago, but the public was just notified Thursday.

ABC Action News asked the DEP why they didn't notify the public sooner. The state agency has yet to answer that question.

We asked Mosaic the same thing. The phosphate company told us it immediately notified the DEP, but did not release the information to the public because they felt it was not a safety concern.

The DEP says it is working with Mosaic to monitor the water and that Mosaic will work with nearby residents to test their individual water as well.