ManaSota-88, Inc. a 501.c3 Public Health and Environmental Organization has sent the following post. This is not an idle warning, as we remember the spills from the huge gypstack at the mouth of the Alafia River near Riverview, which killed billions of water creatures.
These phosphate mine leftovers will never be safe and should not have been allowed to happen, and it was especially unwise to allow one to be placed on the very edge of the bay.
Greed and lust for money have brainwashed our leaders to believe that our existence is dependent on phosphate, which is a myth. Destruction of our state is not worth the material profits garnered by this industry. We should not issue any new permits of any nature for mining phosphate. Current operations should be phased out upon completion of permits in place.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
– A river is like a life: once taken,
it cannot be brought back © Jim Tatum
Heavy rains during hurricane season increase the chance of gypsum stack spills.
Phosphate mining in Florida is a cradle to grave polluting industry. The graves are the gyp stacks the industry leaves behind. Gypsum ponds have been found to have cadmium, chromium and other heavy metals in excess of federal and state standards. It is not unusual to find gypsum pond pH levels as low as 1.5. Seepage from slimes can contain high levels of radionuclides and other toxins. Levels of radium as high as 2,000 picocuries per liter are not unusual. The highly acidic gypsum ponds also emit fluoride and radioactive gases, which are harmful to humans, plants and animal tissues.
There are 2 dozen stacks in Florida. Each gyp stack carries with it the constant menace of a hazardous spill.
Gyp stack breaks have devastating long-term environmental and economic impacts. Valuable aquatic and vegetative resources never fully recover from a spill. As the highly acidic, radioactive slime makes its way to the receiving waters, entire aquatic ecosystems are impacted.
Gyp stack spills should not create an economic burden for the taxpayers of Florida. Citizens have already paid enough with the loss of valuable environmental resources due to phosphate mining activities.
ManaSota-88 has requested that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) immediately stop issuing all new phosphate mine and processing plant permits.
The DEP must implement a comprehensive, statewide reassessment plan on Florida’s phosphogypsum stacks before any more phosphate permits are granted. State regulators need to identify a long-term solution that will safely manage the two dozen gyp stacks located throughout the state.
The DEP currently lacks adequate regulations needed to protect the public and the environment from hazards associated with gypsum stacks and ponds. Proper regulations requiring final disposition of gypsum wastes in an environmentally acceptable manner do not exist.
Florida has been derelict for years in safeguarding the public and the environment against a phosphogypsum stack spill.
If phosphate companies cannot guarantee that these stacks will be contained under hurricane or tropical-storm conditions, then it is time for them take their business elsewhere. The citizens of Florida should no longer accept gyp stack spills due to a malfunction as a matter of course.
The cost is too high.