Weather.com (by Pam Wright) - The public was not notified for three weeks after a massive sinkhole opened up underneath a storage pond in Florida, causing more than 200 million gallons of "slightly radioactive" contaminated wastewater to leak into one of the state's main underground resources of drinking water.
According to Mosaic, the world's largest supplier of phosphate, the 45-foot chasm opened up beneath a pile of waste material called a "gypsum stack" on Aug. 27, allowing contaminated water to leak into the state's aquifer.
Although Mosaic told government authorities about the leak on Aug. 27, it did not inform the public for another three weeks, according to an incident report.
The 215-million gallon storage pond sat atop the waste mineral pile, reports the Associated Press.
The company says it is monitoring the groundwater and has found no offsite impacts.
"Groundwater moves very slowly," David Jellerson, Mosaic's senior director for environmental and phosphate projects, told the AP. "There's absolutely nobody at risk."
The water had been used to transport the gypsum, which is a byproduct of fertilizer production, the company said.
"It went directly into the Floridan aquifer,"said Debbie Waters, Mosaic’s director of regulatory affairs.
Waters attempted to quantify"slightly radioactive."