Mosaic New Wales Sinkhole and Water Loss Incident

mosaic_btnThe Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) priority is always the safety of Floridians and our environment and our staff was on-site to investigate the issues at Mosaic’s New Wales facility less than 24 hours after being notified. 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.

Governor Scott directed DEP to expedite our investigation, which began on Aug. 29. While Mosaic has taken responsibility, our job is to ensure 100 percent safe drinking water in Florida and to protect our state’s pristine environment. As directed by the Governor, DEP is expediting all water-quality tests to ensure safe drinking water for residents. Governor Scott has also directed the Department of Health to partner with DEP in our investigation to ensure all drinking water in the area is safe. 

To keep the public informed of the latest response activities and most recent monitoring data, DEP will issue updates on this issue.

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DEP’s Ongoing Oversight:

Department staff continues to perform frequent, targeted site visits to monitor progress and provide direction and assistance on response activities.

The department continues to communicate with Mosaic on a daily basis to receive updates on the status of the site, and the most recent monitoring results, along with a review of investigative activities in accordance with the requirements of applicable state permits and state orders.

Below is a timeline of action taken by DEP since notification of this incident:

  • August 17, 2017: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • August 17, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • August 16, 2017: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • August 16, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • August 15, 2017: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • August 15, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • August 14, 2017: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • August 14, 2017: DEP provided a conditional approval of Mosaic’s updated grouting plan implementation schedule, subject to the ongoing requirements of the existing Consent Order.
  • August 9, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • August 9, 2017: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • August 8, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • August 8, 2017: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • August 7, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • August 7, 2017: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • August 4, 2017: DEP has received and completed our review of the Quarter 2 sample results from the over 200 private drinking water wells that were sampled during the most recent quarter. Since the sinkhole incident, DEP has reviewed sample results from over 1,350 separate private ground water wells. All samples to date have shown no impacts related to process water from the sinkhole at the Mosaic New Wales facility. While most wells have met applicable federal Safe Drinking Water Act standards, DEP and DOH continue to work with homeowners to follow-up on additional testing and to review treatment options for any wells with safe drinking water concerns.
  • August 3, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • August 3, 2017: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • August 2, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • August 2, 2017: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • August 1, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • August 1, 2017: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • July 28, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • July 26, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • July 25, 2017: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells.
  • July 24, 2017: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells.
  • July 19, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells.
  • July 19, 2017: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells.
  • July 18, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells.
  • July 18, 2017: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells.
  • July 17, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells.
  • July 12, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells.
  • July 11, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells.
  • July 10, 2017: DEP provided comments to Mosaic on information provided regarding their revised grouting plan.
  • July 6, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells.
  • July 5, 2017: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells.
  • July 3, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells.
  • DEP’s Ongoing Oversight in June 2017
  • DEP’s Ongoing Oversight in May 2017
  • DEP’s Ongoing Oversight in April 2017
  • DEP’s Ongoing Oversight in March 2017
  • DEP’s Ongoing Oversight in February 2017
  • DEP’s Ongoing Oversight in January 2017
  • DEP’s Ongoing Oversight in December 2016
  • DEP’s Ongoing Oversight in November 2016
  • DEP’s Ongoing Oversight in October 2016
  • DEP’s Ongoing Oversight in September 2016

Sinkhole Investigation and Remediation:

  • DEP’s Florida Geological Survey is assisting in the department’s investigation into the formation and remediation of the sinkhole.
  • The Department continues to perform regular testing and review site conditions, remedial activities and monitoring results. These ongoing reviews are necessary to ensure that the released process water is being captured on-site and that there are no off-site concerns while remedial work is being performed.
  • Mosaic has completed on-site preparation work including construction of work pad areas for staging equipment and the on-site batch plant that were essential before grouting operations could begin. As a result, Mosaic began initial grouting operations on Feb. 1, 2017. The initial grouting phase will stabilize the base of the open cavity in the sinkhole prior to continuing with additional grouting to close the sinkhole opening.
  • Mosaic is reporting that there have been no adverse changes or increase in the size of the sinkhole formation through Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  • Mosaic is continuing to report their progress with their on-site corrective actions as they work to complete remediation of the sinkhole.

Groundwater Quality:

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The department is receiving data from Mosaic that is based on the company’s network of monitoring wells that capture water quality data within the three aquifer systems at the site –  the Surficial Aquifer, the Intermediate Aquifer and the Floridan Aquifer. By the regular testing and reported data from these wells, DEP is able to confirm no off-site migration is occurring.

Monitoring to date continues to indicate that the affected water is being successfully contained, and that there is no evidence of off-site movement or threat to off-site groundwater supplies. Daily oversight and routine groundwater monitoring will continue to ensure there are no off-site or long-term effects.

  • Specifically, as of Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017,  the recovery well efforts continue to successfully capture and contain released process water from the Floridan Aquifer.
  • Groundwater data from on-site monitoring wells shows no movement of process water outside of the capture zone of the onsite recovery well.

Drinking Water:

Since sampling of nearby drinking water wells began on Sept. 19, 2016, more than 1,160 results continue to indicate that the process water is being contained on-site. The nearest private drinking well is approximately 3 miles away from the site, and thus far in DEP’s investigation there is no indication that there is a threat to this well.

Mosaic reports that sampling will continue through their independent, third-party contractor and those samples will be sent to a third-party lab for analysis. DEP will continue to independently review these lab results as part of its oversight to ensure that Mosaic remains in compliance with its Consent Order.

DEP is available to perform sampling alongside these contractors or independently.

Both DEP and DOH are committed to ensuring safe drinking water for residents.

Residents with questions or concerns regarding their sample results or the safety of their well may continue to call the DEP Office of Public Services at 850-245-2118.

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