Fl. Dept. of Health in Polk County shuts down lab before sinkhole opens on Mosaic property

Posted at 6:18 PM, Sep 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-19 18:18:08-04

Florida's Department of Health in Polk County no longer offers residential water tests because they shut down their Winter Haven lab in February because of third party companies offering services in the area to test water supplies. 

A spokeswoman for Polk County's department of health said that decision came because of the resources available for homeowners around the county to have water tested.

As far as questions dealing with Mosaic, we are told Florida Department of Environmental Protection is taking the lead on response efforts.

DEP continues to perform site visits at Mosaic property to ensure timely responses for public health and the environment.

That's according to a spokeswoman for the state department, "monitoring to date continues to indicate that the process water is being successfully contained, and that there is no evidence of offsite movement or threat to offsite groundwater supplies," said Dee Ann Miller, by email Monday afternoon. 

With any indication of offsite migration of contaminated groundwater, affected parties would be notified. 

Miller said out of abundance of caution and beyond requirements, DEP is coordinating with Mosaic to reach out to adjacent homeowners who may water testing for their drinking water wells. 

Mosaic is offering the tests for free for those nearby the Mulberry plant. 

In all, 41 people have asked for the tests. 

However, some have raised concerns about only Mosaic doing the testing -- but, ABC Action News found out officials with Polk County do not test residential water supplies as the lab was shut down in February.

Mosaic will use an independent company to test the homeowners well water. 

Several water testing facilities are in Polk County, but Geno Yauchler with Florida Water Analysis said people need to be cautious when hiring a company, "do your research," he said. 

Yauchler said third party companies can't test every chemical either -- they would have to send tests for certain chemicals to a laboratory that could cost hundreds of dollars per test. 

"If its anything other than lead, or hardness minerals, we do a couple of tests like sulfur and iron," he said. 

Mosaic has said they are expediting lab work to get results to homeowners as soon as possible.