Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida

Be Informed.

Mosaic’s Contaminated Water Discharged into Alafia River


News Channel 8, in Tampa, has aired the following story.  It was Channel 8 which first disclosed to the public the news of the huge sinkhole at the Mosaic mine.  Both Mosaic and our Department of Environmental Protection were hiding this fact from the public, and made no mention of it for nearly three weeks, until Channel 8 let the cat out of the bag.  Mosaic later apologized, but our DEP made no apology, saying only they followed the letter of the law.  But the DEP knowingly allowed neighbors to drink water which was very possibly contaminated until the secret got out, for almost three weeks.  Had Channel 8 not found out, how long would this have continued?

Contrary to previous promises, Mosaic is now drawing contaminated water from the aquifer and dumping it into the

Alafia River.  Earlier the company said no contaminated water would move off-site from Mosaic property.  Not true.  Mr. Beckingham assures us the contaminated water is approved by our DEP.  This is our DEP who wants to allow more and more poisons in our drinking water, so that industry can make more money.

This is nothing new for Mosaic, the company that allowed a retention pond to spill into South Prong Creek, feeding into the Alafia, resulting in a catastrophic environmental impact.  Partially for this, they were recently fined $1.8 billion.

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

Mosaic’s contaminated water discharged into Alafia river

By Steve Andrews Published: December 15, 2016, 4:03 pm Updated: December 15, 2016, 10:13 pm

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.


LIMIT THE USE of fertilizers and pesticides in your environment. Remember that because of our Karst Topography, chemicals used on your lawn and garden can drain quickly into our aquifer and then flow back up into our springs and rivers. Click here for more ideas.

Director of Sustainability for The Mosaic Company, Neil Beckingham

According to Mosaic director of EHS Operations Neil Beckingham, some of the water is being stored and used on site.

However, contaminated water that it has no room for, is being diluted and discharged.

“So the outfall eventually that, that water does hit part of the tributaries that lead into the Alafia river system,” Beckingham said.

The Alafia river feeds Tampa Bay Water’s regional reservoir from which much of eastern Hillsborough County gets its drinking water.

Beckingham now assures that the discharged contaminated water meets strict state standards.

“So that’s why they are measuring, they’re measuring to make sure we have no impact,” he added.

The sinkhole opened in August.  It dumped 215 million gallons of contaminated water into the aquifer, threatening nearby wells.

Mosaic told Hillsborough County’s Environmental Protection Commission that within a month, workers will bore a hole on an angle from the top of the gypsum stack, then inject concrete under extremely high pressure to fill the hole.

Construction on the work pad and access ramp for the gypsum stack is nearly complete.

A well to the northwest of the sinkhole pumps roughly 5 million gallons a day to recover the contaminated water.

Mosaic plans another recovery well due west of the sinkhole directly in line with groundwater’s westerly flow.

“As time has gone by, we recognize that we could locate the well directly west instead of northwest and that that would be more efficient.  So therefore we would have to pump potentially less water if we have a well in the west direction rather than the northwest,” Beckingham said.

By month’s end Mosaic also plans to stop bottled water deliveries to neighbors concerned about their well water.

Hillsborough County commissioner Stacy White asked Mosaic to continue delivering bottled water.

Mosaic consultant Dr. Nadim Fueihan, president of Ardaman & Associates told the EPC well testing and delivering bottled water is good for public relations, but technically or scientifically it is not necessary.

Hillsborough County commissioner Victor Crist took issue with that.

He asked Mosaic to continue delivering bottled water until neighbors, whose well water falls outside federal drinking water standards, can definitively rule out that the sinkhole incident has had no impact.

“For every scientist that says it’s one way there’s another scientist that says it’s another way.  So as a policy maker, we should always rule on the side of caution and safety especially when there’s potential lives at risk,” Crist added.

Mosaic’s senior manager of public affairs, Richard Ghent said he would bring Crist’s request for continuing the bottled water deliveries to the company for its consideration.

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