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 a daily update 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:

  • Feb. 6, 2017: DEP received an update on ongoing grouting operations. Sinkhole repair and remediation efforts are underway in accordance with provisions of Mosaic’s Consent Order with the department. The grouting work to stabilize the base of the sinkhole continues, which is critical for moving forward with closure of the sinkhole opening.
  • Feb. 3, 2017: DEP has reviewed sample results from over 1,250 separate private drinking water wells, which have all met applicable federal Safe Drinking Water Act standards and showed no impacts related to process water from the sinkhole at the Mosaic New Wales facility. DEP and DOH continue to reach out to an additional 83 homeowners whose samples also show no impacts from the process water from the Mosaic sinkhole, but do show some results above drinking water standards. Even though these results show no impacts related to the process water from the sinkhole, the priority of DEP and DOH is safe drinking water. DEP and DOH are confirming with the homeowners that the wells are being used for drinking water purposes, and if so, offering additional testing and reviewing treatment options.
  • Feb. 3, 2017: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Feb. 2, 2017: To date DEP has taken 102 joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells which now includes the four completed additional monitoring wells required by the Consent Order. These wells will provide additional monitoring coverage to ensure there is no indication of off-site impacts. Results from both DEP’s and Mosaic’s sampling continue 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.
  • Feb. 2, 2017: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Feb. 1, 2017: DEP staff were on-site to observe initial grouting operations. Sinkhole repair and remediation efforts are underway in accordance with provisions of Mosaic’s Consent Order with the department. The initial grouting phase will stabilize the base of the sinkhole, which is critical for moving forward with closure of the sinkhole opening.
  • Feb. 1, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Feb. 1, 2017: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Jan. 31, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Jan. 30, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Jan. 27, 2017: DEP has reviewed sample results from over 1,250 separate private drinking water wells, which have all met applicable federal Safe Drinking Water Act standards and showed no impacts related to process water from the sinkhole at the Mosaic New Wales facility. DEP and DOH continue to reach out to an additional 82 homeowners whose samples also show no impacts from the process water from the Mosaic sinkhole, but do show some results above drinking water standards. Even though these results show no impacts related to the process water from the sinkhole, the priority of DEP and DOH is safe drinking water. DEP and DOH are confirming with the homeowners that the wells are being used for drinking water purposes, and if so, offering additional testing and reviewing treatment options.
  • Jan. 27, 2017: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Jan. 26, 2017: To date DEP has taken 99 joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells which now includes the four completed additional monitoring wells required by the Consent Order. These wells will provide additional monitoring coverage to ensure there is no indication of off-site impacts. Results from both DEP’s and Mosaic’s sampling continue 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.
  • Jan. 25, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Jan. 24, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Jan. 23, 2017: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Jan. 20, 2017: To date DEP has taken 94 joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells which now includes the four completed additional monitoring wells required by the Consent Order. These wells will provide additional monitoring coverage to ensure there is no indication of off-site impacts. Results from both DEP’s and Mosaic’s sampling continue 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.
  • Jan. 19, 2017: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Jan. 18, 2017: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Jan. 17, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Jan. 16, 2017: DEP has reviewed over 1,220 sample results from private drinking water wells, which have all met applicable federal Safe Drinking Water Act standards and showed no impacts related to process water from the sinkhole at the Mosaic New Wales facility. DEP and DOH continue to reach out to an additional 80 homeowners whose samples also show no impacts from the process water from the Mosaic sinkhole, but do show some results above drinking water standards. Even though these results show no impacts related to the process water from the sinkhole, the priority of DEP and DOH is safe drinking water. DEP and DOH are confirming with the homeowners that the wells are being used for drinking water purposes, and if so, offering additional testing and reviewing treatment options.
  • Jan. 14, 2017: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Jan. 13, 2017: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Jan. 12, 2017: To date DEP has taken 91 joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells which now includes the four completed additional monitoring wells required by the Consent Order. These wells will provide additional monitoring coverage to ensure there is no indication of off-site impacts. Results from both DEP’s and Mosaic’s sampling continue 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.
  • Jan. 11, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Jan. 10, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Jan. 9, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Jan. 6, 2017: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Jan. 6, 2017: DEP has reviewed nearly 1,220 sample results from private drinking water wells, which have all met applicable federal Safe Drinking Water Act standards and showed no impacts related to process water from the sinkhole at the Mosaic New Wales facility. DEP and DOH continue to reach out to an additional 80 homeowners whose samples also show no impacts from the process water from the Mosaic sinkhole, but do show some results above drinking water standards. Even though these results show no impacts related to the process water from the sinkhole, the priority of DEP and DOH is safe drinking water. DEP and DOH are confirming with the homeowners that the wells are used for drinking water purposes, and if so, offering additional testing and reviewing treatment options.
  • Jan. 5, 2017: To date DEP has taken 87 joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells which now includes the four completed additional monitoring wells required by the Consent Order. These wells will provide additional monitoring coverage to ensure there is no indication of off-site impacts. Results from both DEP’s and Mosaic’s sampling continue 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.
  • Jan. 5, 2017: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Jan. 4, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Jan. 3, 2017: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Jan. 3, 2017: DEP staff were on-site to review progress to date on site preparation activities. This work is critical for expediting and moving forward with remediation activities. Work is on-schedule with grouting activities expected to begin mid-January.
  • Jan. 2, 2017: DEP has reviewed over 1,210 sample results from private drinking water wells, which have all met applicable federal Safe Drinking Water Act standards and showed no impacts related to process water from the sinkhole at the Mosaic New Wales facility. DEP and DOH continue to reach out to an additional 74 homeowners whose samples also show no impacts from the process water from the Mosaic sinkhole, but do show some results above drinking water standards. Even though these results show no impacts related to the process water from the sinkhole, the priority of DEP and DOH is safe drinking water. DEP and DOH are confirming with the homeowners that the wells are used for drinking water purposes, and if so, offering additional testing and reviewing treatment options.
  • Dec. 29, 2016: To date DEP has taken 81 joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells which now includes the four completed additional monitoring wells required by the Consent Order. These wells will provide additional monitoring coverage to ensure there is no indication of off-site impacts. Results from both DEP’s and Mosaic’s sampling continue 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.
  • Dec. 28, 2016: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Dec. 27, 2016: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Dec. 27, 2016: DEP has reviewed over 1,200 sample results from private drinking water wells, which have all met applicable federal Safe Drinking Water Act standards and showed no impacts related to process water from the sinkhole at the Mosaic New Wales facility. DEP and DOH continue to reach out to an additional 74 homeowners whose samples also show no impacts from the process water from the Mosaic sinkhole, but do show some results above drinking water standards. Even though these results show no impacts related to the process water from the sinkhole, the priority of DEP and DOH is safe drinking water. DEP and DOH are confirming with the homeowners that the wells are used for drinking water purposes, and if so, offering additional testing and reviewing treatment options.
  • Dec. 22, 2016: DEP staff were on-site to review progress to date on site preparation activities. This work is critical for expediting and moving forward with remediation activities. Work is on-schedule with grouting activities expected to begin mid-January.
  • Dec. 21, 2016: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Dec. 21, 2016: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Dec. 20, 2016: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Dec. 19, 2016: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Dec. 19, 2016: To date DEP has taken 67 joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells which now includes the four completed additional monitoring wells required by the Consent Order. These wells will provide additional monitoring coverage to ensure there is no indication of off-site impacts. Results from both DEP’s and Mosaic’s sampling continue 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.
  • Dec. 16, 2016: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Dec. 15, 2016: DEP has reviewed over 1,190 sample results from private drinking water wells, which have all met applicable federal Safe Drinking Water Act standards and showed no impacts related to process water from the sinkhole at the Mosaic New Wales facility. DEP and DOH continue to reach out to an additional 71 homeowners whose samples also show no impacts from the process water from the Mosaic sinkhole, but do show some results above drinking water standards. Even though these results show no impacts related to the process water from the sinkhole, the priority of DEP and DOH is safe drinking water. DEP and DOH are confirming with the homeowners that the wells are used for drinking water purposes, and if so, offering additional testing and reviewing treatment options.
  • Dec. 14, 2016: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Dec. 13, 2016: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Dec. 12, 2016: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Dec. 11, 2016: To date DEP has taken 63 joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells which now includes the four completed additional monitoring wells required by the Consent Order. These wells will provide additional monitoring coverage to ensure there is no indication of off-site impacts. Results from both DEP’s and Mosaic’s sampling continue 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.
  • Dec. 8, 2016: DEP has reviewed over 1,160 sample results from private drinking water wells, which have all met applicable federal Safe Drinking Water Act standards and showed no impacts related to process water from the sinkhole at the Mosaic New Wales facility. DEP and DOH continue to reach out to an additional 71 homeowners whose samples also show no impacts from the process water from the Mosaic sinkhole, but do show some results above drinking water standards. Even though these results show no impacts related to the process water from the sinkhole, the priority of DEP and DOH is safe drinking water. DEP and DOH are confirming with the homeowners that the wells are used for drinking water purposes, and if so, offering additional testing and reviewing treatment options.
  • Dec. 7, 2016: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Dec. 6, 2016: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Dec. 5, 2016: DEP and Mosaic took joint samples of Mosaic monitoring wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Dec. 3, 2016: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Dec. 3, 2016: Through Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, DEP has collected 444 split samples. In addition, DEP and DOH have collected 44 independent samples from private drinking water wells.
  • Dec. 1, 2016: DEP and ECT took joint samples from private drinking water wells. Results from these samples are forthcoming.
  • Dec. 1, 2016: DEP has reviewed over 1,150 sample results from private drinking water wells, which have all met applicable federal Safe Drinking Water Act standards and showed no impacts related to process water from the sinkhole at the Mosaic New Wales facility. DEP and DOH continue to reach out to an additional 70 homeowners whose samples also show no impacts from the process water from the Mosaic sinkhole, but do show some results above drinking water standards. Even though these results show no impacts related to the process water from the sinkhole, the priority of DEP and DOH is safe drinking water. DEP and DOH are confirming with the homeowners that the wells are used for drinking water purposes, and if so, offering additional testing and reviewing treatment options.
  • 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 Monday, Feb. 6, 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 Monday, Feb. 6, 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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