The Mosaic Co. fertilizer phosphate processing facility in Mulberry — where a massive sinkhole opened and millions of gallons of radioactive water was released into the Florida Aquifer three weeks before the public was informed — has reported the release of ammonia Tuesday.
Mosaic denied other media reports that the Mosaic-New Wales facility had been evacuated on Tuesday morning after the release of 100 pounds of ammonia from an above-ground pipe.
Ten pounds of ammonia were confirmed to have been leaked later Tuesday afternoon.
Contractors had been doing some work in a specific area when there was a small ammonia leak, according to public affairs manager Jackie Barron.
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“As a precaution, we had those contractors leave that area immediately,” Barron said. “There was no evacuation.”
After 10 a.m. Tuesday, Mosaic Fertilizer notified the National Response Center and State Warning Point of the ammonia release, according to a provided statement.
“One of our fertilizer granulation plants was offline for scheduled maintenance work. During that work, employees opened an isolated and deactivated ammonia pipeline and some residual ammonia inadvertently was released into the atmosphere,” the company stated.
The plant’s emergency response team responded to the area.
Mosaic said they were able to contain the release “by applying water to the ammonia vapors.”
The company did not initially know if the ammonia levels rose to the level that required the leak to be reported but made the decision within 15 minutes, their company protocol, to error on the side of caution and report it, Barron said. A leak is required to be reported if it seeks 100 pounds, she added.
“Everybody is back to work,” she said. “We are still assessing the leak.”
The company is still trying to determine the amount of ammonia that was leaked and the cause of the leak. There were no injuries or exposure reported as a result of the incident.