People near Mosaic's New Wales plant worry about well water

Residents near the sinkhole at Mosaic hope there is not contamination in their well water.

Mulberry, FL -- Mosaic says it has contained contamination from a sinkhole that opened at one of its Gypsum stacks late last month.

But several people who live nearby and depend entirely upon the aquifer for their water supply are skeptical.

It's not the first time a sinkhole has threatened their neighborhood.

Mosaic says it has strong pumps all around the property at its New Wales plant pulling that now-contaminated water up out of the ground and storing it. Keeping it from spreading.

You'd think for a guy like Rob Bentley that would be huge relief. But it's not. 

“I'm a little more concerned now what did they say? Radioactivity possibly? Slightly? Yeah - I'm concerned.” said Bentley.

Bentley doesn't trust the water is - or has been - clean enough for his children and grandchild. His family has been living in Pine Dale for about 15 years. It’s a small cluster of homes south of Mulberry and downstream from Mosaic’s gypsum stacks.

The entire neighborhood is completely dependent upon on the aquifer and wells for their water.

“It's just got a funny smell, and it's not tasteful,” said Bentley.

Bentley's skepticism is rooted in history.

In 1994, another massive sinkhole at the New Wales plant threatened the drinking supply there. In 1997 and 2004, acid spills made it to local rivers. Again, people in Pine Dale were told there was no problem. 

Still, some are worried.

“To soften the taste for cooking we have multiple filters on our water. But I'll just take more measures to be sure of the kids are drinking bottled water for a while,” said neighbor Deborah Thatcher.

Mosaic says so far tests show they've been able to keep this latest incident contained too.

“We are monitoring extensively to make sure nothing gets past us and something and certainly nothing will get to the property line,” said David Jellerson, Mosaic’s Senior Environmental Director.  

But with the threat of increased acidity - maybe even low grade radiation seeping into the aquifer from the gypsum, Bentley is unassured.

“I don't know. Are we going to put our families in jeopardy because they say that it's okay? I don't know. I'm not gonna drink it,” he said.

As part of it's response plan, Mosaic says it's making free well-testing available to anyone who lives around the area who may share those concerns.


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