Phosphate mine spill in Polk County should not affect the aquifer

Drinking water supplies in the 18 counties of the St. Johns River Water Management District are not at risk from a recent Polk County phosphate mine spill caused by a sinkhole, according to district scientists. Recent media reports have caused concern among some residents about impacts from the spill. State agencies and the local company involved are monitoring the situation and have protocols in place to prevent contamination of Florida’s drinking water supply.

“Given the regional groundwater flow patterns in the Upper Floridan aquifer in central Florida, drinking water supplies in the St. Johns River Water Management District are not at risk from the spill at the phosphate mine in Mulberry, in western Polk County,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “Because the spill was located in Polk County near the Hillsborough County line and the groundwater flow in the Upper Floridan aquifer is generally to the southwest, the spill should not affect water supplies in the district.”

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is performing frequent site visits to make sure timely and appropriate response continues in order to safeguard public health and the environment. Monitoring to date indicated the process water is being successfully contained, and that there is no evidence of offsite movement or threat to offsite groundwater supplies. Groundwater monitoring will continue to ensure there are no offsite or long-term effects.

General information about Florida’s aquifer system in north and east-central Florida can be found online at


  1. If you have ever been fishing over at the coast at night, or even at a freshwater source at night, and you see the fish in the water “light up” and glow like a glow- in- the- dark Halloween decoration, and can see the size, and outlines of the fish in the water, then you know that there has been a lot of phosphate run-off somewhere near that area, and that the water is full of it.

  2. See fish in phosphate contaminated waters at night, is kind of like boating and having a fish finder device, without having to buy one!

  3. By the way, I enjoyed the fish pictures of the old days on the Apopka Critic Facebook, awhile back. Thanks for the photos. I especially liked the estimated 200+ year old rare fish caught in Alaska, and how people was mad at the guy for keeping the fish, and not releasing the fish, and how some said the fish would die anyway with being pulled up from such deep, deep, waters. And the comment that caused me to laugh myself to death, was the guy who said the fish was probably “Sea Nile” anyway, meaning senile. LOL! Heeehheeee…….


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