Bradley Junction remembers the day their water turned brown

Posted at 11:35 PM, Sep 19, 2016

"They mined from that road, Highway 37, to as far as you could go this way and around the backside of the street," said Luther Hamilton.

Hamilton remembers the day the digging started.

"They drop the bucket right on the property line, I stood in my yard and talk to the man on the dragline, that's how close he was to me," said Hamilton.

Hamilton, a pastor now, says IMC Agrico owned the mine back then and most of the land around Bradley Junction.

Once the digging began, he says dust and odors filled his home, then the water out of his faucets and toilets turned brown.

"Because of the mine IMC, they messed our wells with the dragline and mining, it was awful," said Hamilton.

According to a 1995 US news and World report, IMC denied having anything to do with the contamination to the local wells but did spend more than $1 million digging residents wells deeper.

Since 93, the area has run on a few pint size water treatment plants maintained by Polk County.

Officials say they are stepping up testing at those plants and so far have not felt any affects from the latest sinkhole. But the latest images now have the alarm bells ringing in Hamiltons head again.

"We're getting water from a treatment plant, and I don't drink it, I've never drank it, I buy my water from Zephryhills," said Hamilton.

Many Bradley neighbors who didn't want to go on camera told similar stories.

Hamilton has one piece of advice for those also worried by the latest video.

"We need to get with our congressman, we need to get with the commissioners, we need to yell and we need to yell loud," said Hamilton.

A group of Bradley citizens did have a small victory by convincing Polk County to pass an ordinance prohibiting phosphate mining within 1000 feet of homes. During the mining in Bradley it was 250 feet.