NEW WALES, Fla. (WFLA) — Data from monitoring devices at Mosaic’s New Wales phosphogypsum facility has set off an investigation into a potential tear in a buried liner.
According to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), devices known as a piezometers indicated “a change in water pressure within a limited area within the stack.”
After the data was collected, Mosaic sent a “critical condition notification” to DEP.
“Site monitoring data indicates a potential liner tear at the facility’s active south phosphogypsum stack,” Mosaic’s notice states.
Mosaic spokesperson Sarah Fedorchuk said drilling is underway to gather more information about the issue.
“They’re trying to figure out through other monitoring if there’s something there or not,” Fedorchuk said. “So, over the next days and weeks that is activity we will have in that part of the site.”
A massive sinkhole in 2016 at the New Wales facility is why Mosaic installed the monitoring devices that detected the potential tear in this case.
While Mosaic crews bore beneath the surface looking for clues, DEP spokesman Brian Miller said the agency is monitoring the response, and conducting its own regulatory investigation.
“D E P is reviewing all information in order to determine if there are any violations or necessary penalties or enforcement actions,” Miller said in a statement. “Inspections and data submitted by Mosaic to date indicate there is no breach of the walls of the gyp stack and no discharges to surface water. ”
Miller said Mosaic stopped stacking and process water storage in the impacted area in 2022.
Neither FDEP nor Mosaic offered a timeline for how long the investigation will take.
Fedorchuk said wells designed to capture from the facility water before it gets to aquifer are in place if a there is a tear.
“In the worst scenario, they would fine a liner tear and we have already anticipated that something like that could happen,” Fedorchuk said. “That is why we have capture wells to stop any off site impacts.”