Heavy rains during hurricane season increase the chance of gypsum stack spills. 



mosaicF4riverviewgypst In: Heavy rains during hurricane season increase the chance of gypsum stack spills.  | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Dangerous gypstack on the banks of Tampa Bay near Riverview which polluted the bay. These stacks are a constant threat and are destined to be here forever.  The burden is on the taxpayer not the phosphate company who made them.  Photo by Jim Tatum.


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.
[email protected]
– 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.



  1. The springs region of Florida and the Santa Fe river are Environmentally delicate areas they are environmental treasures that are part of the beauty of Florida for them to be endangered by such as this is absolutely wrong the money that is made by these corporations should include the cost of dealing with this Waste properly so it does not endanger the environment

  2. Jim do you have a link to a description of the phosphate extraction process? The article suggests the gypsum is tailings from mining- the non-phosphate rock. Is the acid the result of acid intriduced to separate the phosphate?
    This problem seems similar to that of coal ash. Such a deposit may be on the north shore of St. Andrew Bay, where a coal plant was converted to gas 4 years ago.

    1. Please visit http://www.protectpeaceriver.org. Phosphogypsum is created as a byproduct in the phosphate fertilizer plants. Sulfuric acid is added to the the phosphate rock to produce phosphoric acid. 5 tons of phosphogypsum is created for each ton of phosphoric acid produced. Nothing can be done with this radioactive product except be stacked in these stacks. The majority of these stacks (some 200 feet high) rest on sinkhole prone areas of central Florida. And they are still being added to! Unbelievable!

Back to top
Skip to content