Sinkhole leaks radioactive waste into US drinking water

Sinkhole leaks radioactive waste into US drinking water
Published: 2016 September 19 06:58:33 (6421 Views)
More than 200million gallons of radioactive waste has been leaked into Florida's main sources of drinking water.

The disaster happened when a massive 45ft sinkhole opened up beneath a pile of waste material called a 'gypsum stack' at Mosaic, the world's largest supplier of phosphate.

Mosaic said it was monitoring the groundwater and had so far not found any off-site impacts.

'Groundwater moves very slowly,' David Jellerson, Mosaic's senior director for environmental and phosphate projects, insisted. 'There's absolutely nobody at risk.'

However, the sinkhole is believed to reach down to the Floridan aquifer – an underground system of porous rocks that holds water, that is one of the state's main sources of drinking water.



The vast aquifer underlies all of Florida, and also extends into southern Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina.

When the problem was first detected by an employee, Mosaic began diverting the pond water into an alternate holding area to reduce the amount of drainage.

'We have an extensive monitoring system,' Jellerson added. 'It's already indicating that it's recovering the material, but it will take some time for that process to complete.'

But environmental groups are warning that damage from the sinkhole could be severe, and would add to decades of pollution caused by the phosphorous fertiliser industry.

'I wish we could say that watching an environmental tragedy unfolding at a Florida phosphate mining site was a new occurrence, but sadly it's happened repeatedly,' Tania Galloni, a lawyer with the Florida office of Earthjustice, said.



Source - Metro

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