Mosaic Overflight Part 5 Riverview Gypstacks & the [Polluted] Alafia River

mosaicF4alafia In: Mosaic Overflight   Part 5 Riverview Gypstacks & the [Polluted] Alafia River | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida

The Alafia River at its mouth near Gibsonton.   This river is Florida’s shame.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Mosaic’s radioactive, contaminated water that leaked from a sinkhole, is being diluted and dumped into the Alafia river.

Nearly four months ago, Mosaic assured the public that contaminated water it recovered from the sinkhole spill would be kept and used at its Mulberry fertilizer plant.

The above is taken from a WFLA newscast.  In 2016, over 200 million gallons of toxic water fell into the aquifer at Mosaic’s New Wales gypstack.  It now is seen that this water is going into the Alafia River once again.  The U. S. Geological Survey notified the state in 1967  that phosphate mines were polluting the river.

Acid water is nothing new to the Alafia.  In 1997 a retention pond broke:

The December 1997 spill damaged 377 acres of riverine habitat and killed or injured any wildlife that couldn’t get out of the way quickly enough on Skinned Sapling Creek and the North Prong of the Alafia River on the outskirts of Mulberry.
The North Prong begins near Mulberry and joins the South Prong, which begins near Bradley, to form the main river channel in eastern Hillsborough County. The river flows to Hillsborough Bay in Riverview.  http://protectpeaceriver.org/2012/04/1997-alafia-river-acid-spill/

This is what the Florida State Paddling trail guide says about the Alafia;
Swimming:
Not recommended in the river due to posted pollution warnings. Swimming is
allowed at Lithia Springs, as long as boats are tied up at the mouth of the spring run.
So we have ruined the surface water here, but can still swim in the spring.  How much longer before the ground water is too polluted for swimming in the spring?
 mosaicF4riverviewgypst In: Mosaic Overflight   Part 5 Riverview Gypstacks & the [Polluted] Alafia River | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida  The Riverview gypstacks,  Florida’s version of mountains
Notice that the Alafia is squeezed tightly between two giant gypstacks, full of toxic water on top, waiting for a spill or sinkhole.  The other side of the mountain borders Tampa Bay, where Mosaic killed lots of wildlife not too many years ago. Your writer first saw this gypstack in 1963, and it is not going anywhere.

mosaicF4tpaportsutton In: Mosaic Overflight   Part 5 Riverview Gypstacks & the [Polluted] Alafia River | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida

Port Sutton, Tampa,  a Kinder Morgan terminal;  from here leave the Mosaic products headed for the world.

Port Sutton Terminal
Size 16 acres
Storage Capacity
200,000 Tons Covered Warehouse
No. of Docks
700 ft. Private Dock; 34’ MLW
Commodities Handled
Fertilizers, Salt, Ores, Liq. Chemicals, Other Dry Bulk
In the image above, the view is north, taking in Davis Island and downtown Tampa.
mosaicF4tampa1 In: Mosaic Overflight   Part 5 Riverview Gypstacks & the [Polluted] Alafia River | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Downtown Tampa, looking east and showing the mouth of the Hillsborough River.
mosaicF4tampa2 In: Mosaic Overflight   Part 5 Riverview Gypstacks & the [Polluted] Alafia River | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Downtown Tampa.
This ends our series of views from the Mosaic overflight.  Again our appreciation goes to Cody Phillips and Gina la Bruno for organizing the trip, and to Ed Golly who most generously  provided the transportation, and to Sierra Club organizer Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson who secured our seat on the flight.
Flight companions:

 Ed Golly                   mosaicFcompanionsBetty In: Mosaic Overflight   Part 5 Riverview Gypstacks & the [Polluted] Alafia River | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida                mosaicFcompanionsHouston In: Mosaic Overflight   Part 5 Riverview Gypstacks & the [Polluted] Alafia River | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Pilot Ed Golly                                     Betty Osceola                           Houston Cypress

 

mosaicFcompanionsKat In: Mosaic Overflight   Part 5 Riverview Gypstacks & the [Polluted] Alafia River | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida                  mosaicFcomapanionsAaron In: Mosaic Overflight   Part 5 Riverview Gypstacks & the [Polluted] Alafia River | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida               mosaicFcompanionsJim In: Mosaic Overflight   Part 5 Riverview Gypstacks & the [Polluted] Alafia River | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Kat Springs                                      Aaron Wood                             Jim Tatum

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life:  once taken, it cannot be brought back-

1 Comment

  1. Thanks, Jim & crew, for the fly-over–ojus holowagus! And best to all, Rob & Yalahahokitee Smith.

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