Mosaic begins work on massive Polk sinkhole

The Mosaic sinkhole on Feb. 3, 2017.

MULBERRY, Fla. (WFLA) — Mosaic has begun the intensive process to fill a large sinkhole that opened up in August at the company’s New Wales plant.

WFLA News Channel 8 broke the story about the massive sinkhole on top of a gypsum stack near Mulberry, which allowed millions of gallons of contaminated water to flow into the Floridan Aquifer.

According to a Mosaic spokesperson, crews are in the initial stage of prepping the sinkhole to stabilize it.

Crews started grouting on Wednesday, working 24 hours a day during a six-day workweek.

Shortly after this stage, they will be grouting to the base of the confining unit to seal the hole at the bottom.

The sinkhole is 152 ft. wide. However, six months after it opened, Mosaic officials claim it still doesn’t know how deep it is.

Until the hole is sealed, every time it rains, contamination drains into the aquifer, a threat kept hidden from neighbors relying on well water.

“After Channel 8 flew over and saw the sinkhole, it was only then that they told us,” neighbor Joyce Hunter said.

The hole opened beneath the gypsum stack in August, dumping 215 million gallons of radioactive water into the aquifer.

Neighbors worry that what’s below the surface maybe heading toward their wells.

“I don’t cook with water. I use bottled water altogether. I do shower in the water, and I will probably start to glow one day,” Hunter said.

Mosaic will test Hunter’s water through 2018 along with others living within a four mile radius. However, the company stopped delivering bottled water.

“They maintain the water is good and all that, but they don’t drink it,” Hunter said.

Mosaic and the state claim the contaminated water is contained on the New Wales property. However, tests on 82 homeowners’ wells show problems with water.

The state insists that has nothing to do with the water that escaped from the sinkhole.

The process of filling the sinkhole could be very expensive. Mosaic’s CEO has previously estimated it could cost $50 million. 

They expect to wrap up before the rainy season.


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