Earlier this week, I addressed Polk County commissioners on the recent sinkhole and water loss incident at our New Wales production facility, and believe the updates and sentiments I shared are pertinent to the entire west-central Florida community.
On behalf of Mosaic, I would like to express our sincere regret that the sinkhole and loss of water have caused concerns for the community. We live and work here, too, and take our responsibility to protect the public and environment very seriously.
The health and safety of our 4,000 employees and local communities is paramount. When we realized we had major water loss at the gypsum stack on Aug. 28, we quickly notified the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Polk County.
Using test wells surrounding our facility, we immediately increased monitoring and took steps to remove as much water as possible from the leaking process pond. On Sept. 6, water dramatically receded, exposing the sinkhole. We are committed to recovering this water from the aquifer and preventing offsite impacts. To date, we have seen no such impacts.
We are working around the clock. FDEP is being updated daily and its representatives have been on site regularly, providing diligent oversight and assistance.
Understandably some of our neighbors are concerned about water coming from their wells. We are paying the cost of testing their wells, as well as providing bottled water to allay their concerns until their well tests are complete. We want our neighbors to not just be safe, but to have peace of mind.
We realize we could have done a better job providing timely information to our neighbors and the broader community. I regret and apologize for not providing information sooner, and am committed to providing regular updates to the public as we move forward.