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Neighboring Residents Take Legal Action After Sinkhole At Fertilizer Plant

Floridan aquifer system,water.usgs.gov
Floridan aquifer system,water.usgs.gov

An attorney representing three central Florida residents in a federal lawsuit against Mosaic says the legal action is about ensuring safe drinking water.

The proposed class-action suit was filed after a sinkhole beneath a Mosaic plant near Lakeland sent 200 million gallons of waste water into the Floridan aquifer.

The lawsuit is the first against Mosaic since the phosphate and potash producer, the world's largest, reported the sinkhole to government agencies in late August.

The company did not disclose the sinkhole to neighboring residents for nearly a month.

The suit says nearly 5,000 residents live within five miles of the sinkhole and get water from private wells.

The state Department of Environmental Protection says no contamination has been found beyond the Mosaic property but that monitoring of nearby wells will continue.

The Floridan aquifer is the largest in the southeast and a major source of drinking water.

Amy Green covers the environment and climate change at WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist and author whose extensive reporting on the Everglades is featured in the book MOVING WATER, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and podcast DRAINED, available wherever you get your podcasts. Amy’s work has been heard on NPR and seen in PEOPLE, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, among many other publications. She began her career at The Associated Press in Nashville, Tenn. Amy grew up in Florida and lives in Orlando with her 7-year-old daughter.