EPA official visits toxic sinkhole at Mosaic plant in Mulberry since it opened nearly month ago

Posted at 4:32 PM, Sep 23, 2016

For the first time since the toxic sinkhole opened up nearly one month ago, an official from the Environmental Protection Agency paid a visit to the Mosaic plant Friday.

The EPA official observed the gypsum stack where the sinkhole occurred, watched engineers test water from recovery wells and discussed the location where new recovery wells will be drilled, according to an EPA spokesperson.

They went on to say that although it's their first visit in person, they've been monitoring the situation since being notified at the end of August.

Officials with the state and Mosaic maintain that its network of recovery wells are working and continue to catch the contaminated water.

IN-DEPTH | Complete Toxic Sinkhole Coverage

Locals are still upset about the silence.

“You don’t let people know three weeks after the fact,” said Donald Zellner, who was brought to tears just thinking of the nightmare and getting left in the dark.

He lives a couple miles from where the sinkhole occurred, draining more than 215-million gallons of toxic water used to make fertilizer into the very aquifer so many rely on.

The water that disappeared could fill roughly 325 Olympic size swimming pools.

“Sooner or later it’s going to show up somewhere, and I don’t want my cows to die over it,” he said.

Late Thursday, the major problem took a sharp turn at the federal courthouse in Tampa.

The same attorney who took on BP during the oil spill is now taking on an even bigger spill.

The class action lawsuit against Mosaic calls for extensive clean-up measures and money for those impacted.

It could protect up to five thousand people nearby, according to the lawyers.

Since ABC Action News broke the news, the lawyers tell us they have received more than 100 inquiries from people wanting to join, including Zellner.

“I’ll dang sure sign the paper,” he said.

He’s on the growing list of people waiting for test results to come in — a process he and hundreds of others will be repeated for who knows how long.

“Three months from now it may not test that way, or six months from now,” he said.