Mosaic New Wales Sinkhole Consent Order

On Oct. 24, 2016, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection executed a consent order with Mosaic following the sinkhole at its New Wales facility.

Secretary Jon Steverson said, “The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is dedicated to the safety of Floridians and our natural resources. Since Mosaic’s initial report of the Water Loss Incident at its Polk County New Wales facility on Aug. 28, DEP has maintained strict oversight of the recovery process and made frequent site visits to ensure timely and appropriate response continues in order to safeguard public health and natural resources.

“The Department will hold Mosaic accountable for repairing the sinkhole, recovering all discharged process water, providing continued assurances that no off-site impacts have occurred and, if any off-site impacts do occur, ensuring that Mosaic rehabilitates the impacts. If the company does not follow the entire order, they will be fined up to $10,000 per day.

“Executing this consent order provides for the continued protection of our residents and environment by requiring Mosaic to ensure comprehensive drinking water protections and take swift response, recovery, and remediation actions following the sinkhole at the New Wales facility. We’re also requiring the company to provide financial assurances to ensure these actions are taken.

“In addition, we’re requiring Mosaic to take steps at all their facilities in Florida to prevent future incidents like this one. DEP will continue to maintain strict oversight of all aspects of the response, recovery and remediation actions, including groundwater and drinking water monitoring.”

The consent order requires numerous actions that will ensure Mosaic remains accountable for recovering the process water, repairing the sinkhole and protecting Florida’s drinking and groundwater resources. Key provisions of the Consent Order require Mosaic to:

  • Implement a Corrective Action and Grouting Plan to permanently seal the sinkhole and verify the long-term effectiveness of the repair work.
  • Operate Recovery Well System to continue capturing impacted groundwater from the Floridan Aquifer and prevent any migration of process water away from the site.
  • Install New Standby Recovery Well to be activated if the primary recovery well becomes inoperable or the enhanced monitoring program indicates that recovery operations need to be expanded to ensure the complete onsite capture of the process water.
  • Implement an Enhanced On-site Monitoring Program to monitor the success of the recovery well system and verify no off-site transport of the process water. This includes more frequent monitoring and the installation of additional monitoring wells.
  • Implement a Comprehensive Off-site Monitoring Program at least through December 2018 to ensure that off-site groundwater and private drinking water wells are monitored to verify that residents continue to have a safe source of drinking water.
  • Remediate or provide alternative source of drinking water if off-site wells are affected by the process water.
  • Perform a Hydrogeological and Geotechnical Site Investigation to evaluate the potential for any additional subsurface anomalies at the active phosphogypsum stack system at the New Wales site.
  • Perform Additional Hydrogeological and Geotechnical Site Investigationsto evaluate the subsurface conditions at the other three active Mosaic phosphogypsum stacks located near Bartow, Riverview and Plant City, Florida.
  • Provide at least $40 million in financial assurance for the performance of the on-site corrective actions, off-site monitoring, and any potential off-site rehabilitation. Mosaic must increase the financial assurance if cost estimates for the actions increase.
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