POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Mosaic announced it will continue, through 2018, testing wells within a FOUR mile radius of the sinkhole that opened at its Mulberry fertilizer plant. The testing will be quarterly in 2017 and twice a year in 2018.
Testing began in September, shortly after Target 8 revealed 215 million gallons of contaminated water drained into the aquifer.
Mosaic claims a private company it hired, Environmental Consulting & Technology, Inc., has conducted tests on 1,200 private wells.
According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, 67 wells showed they contained contaminant levels that exceed the government’s drinking water standard. But the department states none of those wells was impacted by the water that escaped from the sinkhole at the plant.
While Mosaic and the state contend the contaminated water is contained on site, some neighbors just don’t have a lot of confidence in the testing that’s going on. “I have zero comfort,” Kristie Simpson said.
Simpson lives about five and a half miles west of the sinkhole. She was told tests on her well showed the water was safe to drink.
“Then later on my water started smelling different; there’s a lot of black stuff coming out of the pipes. My neighbors have that problem too,” Simpson said.
She claims she wanted her well tested for arsenic and other contaminants and was refused. Now she buys purified water and has filters on her showers.
At the root of her distrust is that the DEP waited for three weeks, until after Target 8 broke the story, to make public the threat of potential contamination. “So right there, there is zero integrity,” Simpson said.
She said Mosaic’s plan to test only wells within that four mile radius for another two years in not good enough.
Mosaic contends the ground water in the area of the sinkhole moves about 500 feet per month.
If that’s the case, Simpson argues the wells in the area should be tested for 20 or 30 years.
Mosaic also stopped delivering bottled water to wells where tests came back within Environmental Protection Agency drinking water standards. It will continue delivering water through this month for those wells in which contaminants exceed standards.