by J. D. Heyes, Natural News:
Most people who don’t live in Florida are not aware that the state is kind of famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) for sinkholes; in fact, they’re fairly common.
And, as reported by Daisy Luther, you may have recently heard some scuttlebutt about a new sinkhole in the state.
But there is more to this one than meets the eye, Luther reports – much more, in fact. As in, this one is poisoning the environment at a remarkable rate, and as usual, the Environmental Protection Agency has, for weeks, been in cover-up mode. So much for upholding the “public good.”
Luther notes that while there hasn’t been much news coverage of the sinkhole, it is massive and has already leaked more than 215 million gallons of water contaminated with radioactivity into the state’s primary drinking water supply. Worse, the EPA has known about this contaminant leak since the early part of August, but it – along with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) – has kept quiet about it. This, despite the fact that officials knew Floridians and guests to the state were drinking, bathing in and cooking with radioactive water.
How a disaster gets swept under the rug
Why not? Because the company responsible for the spill, Mosaic, said that the leaching of radioactive contaminants into a state’s drinking water isn’t a problem. No big deal.
As reported by Russian Times, radioactive wastewater has been flowing into the sinkhole and into an aquifer in Polk County, which is situated in the central part of the state between Orlando and Tampa.
The Tampa Bay Times reported further that the sinkhole opened up below a gypsum stack at a Mosaic phosphate fertilizer plant near Mulberry, dumping millions of gallons of poisonous runoff into the aquifer.
Now that the word is out, it may be months before the hole is filled in, according to officials working on the problem.
The hole is 45 feet wide, and is believed to be around 300 feet deep. It opened at the New Wales plant, where trucked-in phosphate rock is converted into fertilizer. The contaminated water contains sulfate and sodium from a pool that sits atop a 120-foot gypsum stack. “An unknown amount of gypsum, a fertilizer byproduct with low levels of radiation, also fell into the sinkhole,” the Times reported.
At present, the pond is drained. However, as the Times noted, aerial video taken recently shows that polluted water continues to seep in from the gypsum stack, and is cascading like a waterfall into the sinkhole. And with each new rainfall, there will be more contaminated water leeching into the sinkhole until it is filled.
Workers at the Mosaic plant became aware of the leak August 27, after water levels in the pond fell two feet below previous readings. At that time they began diverting water from the pond, which is believed to hold as much as 215 million gallons.
EPA’s history of deception
The Times reported that wells have been used to monitor groundwater contamination around the sinkhole. Mosaic officials claim that no off-site contamination has occurred, but then the company’s transparency about the leak from the outset is questionable, as is that of both the EPA and the DEP.
For it’s part, Mosaic notified the DEP and EPA, but that’s as far as the notifications went. Neither the company nor state and federal officials alerted the public.
But why not? After all, if the company and federal and state environmental officials are certain that no contamination has occurred, then why withhold any information at all?
The company has agreed to pay for testing of well water around the sinkhole, and has already received more than a dozen requests (citizens can also submit their own water samples here).
But, as Luther points out, the EPA has a history of covering up mistakes and hiding or downplaying the severity of spills and toxic incidents like the Gold King Mine spill in Colorado last year. Native American tribes are still dealing with the contaminant fallout from that disaster. So, why should we believe the agency now?
As for Mosaic, Luther says the company paid over $2 billion in fines last year alone for mismanaging hazardous waste.
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