FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 10, 2017
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Times today published an article based on
allegations indicating that the DEP “did nothing” in response to “monitoring
well reports…that show the level of the aquifer jumped 40 feet.” This is false because the data they are referring to is from the North stack, which while continuously monitored and intact, has been closed and non-operational for nearly 12 years.
After multiple requests for the Tampa Bay Times reporter to
provide the data being referenced, DEP was pointed to one chart on page 5 of a July 2016
monitoring report, which DEP had reviewed and posted online on
Aug. 11, 2016. DEP has posted monitoring reports for the two stacks, North
and South, at the Mosaic New Wales facility dating back to 1994, and these
reports have been available online since 2013.
Had the Tampa Bay Times
chosen to give DEP scientists time to review this data and provide a response,
they would have been able to include DEP’s conclusion that this data has
nothing to do with the formation of the 2016 sinkhole.
data the Tampa Bay Times provided is referring to monitoring
wells under the closed North stack at the New Wales facility, which was closed
in 2005, not under the South stack where the 2016
sinkhole formed. The closure of the North stack and all monitoring and
subsequent work has been strictly overseen by DEP.
this data indicates is a jump in water pressure in April and May 2015 in the
confining layer (a geologic formation that separates the Floridan aquifer from
the shallower aquifers that are located above the Floridan).
jump in water pressure was expected, as it was in response to work Mosaic was
doing on the closed North stack. The plan for this work was reviewed
extensively by both DEP and the EPA.
monitoring report, like all monitoring reports, was carefully reviewed by DEP staff
to ensure compliance with Florida’s environmental regulations.
monitoring reports show the water pressure levels later stabilized, also as
expected, after the work was complete.
DEP is committed to keeping the public informed of the latest
response activities related to the Mosaic sinkhole, including posting data on
our website and issuing a daily update on this issue. Citizens with questions
or concerns are always encouraged to reach out to the department so we can help
explain technical information.