Massive sinkhole leaks Florida plant’s water into aquifer

NATURAL PHENOMENON? A massive sinkhole in Mulberry, Florida, can be seen in this aerial photo. (AP)
Updated 17 September 2016

Massive sinkhole leaks Florida plant’s water into aquifer

TAMPA, Florida: A phosphate company says more than 200 million gallons of contaminated water from a fertilizer plant in central Florida leaked into one of the state’s main underground sources of drinking water after a massive sinkhole opened up beneath a storage pond.
Mosaic, the world’s largest supplier of phosphate, said the hole opened up beneath a pile of waste material called a “gypsum stack.”
The 215-million gallon storage pond sat atop the waste mineral pile. The company said the sinkhole is about 45 feet in diameter.
Mosaic says it’s monitoring groundwater and has found no offsite impacts. The company said it’s working to recover the water.
The Polk County phosphate plant is still running. The water had been used to transport the gypsum, which is a byproduct of fertilizer production.
A spokeswoman for Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection said the company was updating state and federal agencies on the situation.
Dee Ann Miller said her agency was doing frequent site visits to safeguard public health.
“While monitoring to date indicates that the process water is being successfully contained, groundwater monitoring will continue to ensure there are no offsite or long-term effects,” she said.
The sinkhole later caused the waste pond to drain, and the contaminated water has now seeped into the aquifer.
Aquifers are massive underground systems of porous rocks that hold water.


Mumbai hospital shut after surge in coronavirus cases among staff

Updated 06 April 2020

Mumbai hospital shut after surge in coronavirus cases among staff

  • Wockhardt Hospital has been declared a ‘containment zone’ after the cases were confirmed
  • Mumbai, home to 12.5 million people according to the 2011 census, has so far confirmed 458 cases

MUMBAI: A major private hospital in Mumbai was shut to new patients and declared a coronavirus containment zone on Monday after 26 nurses and three doctors tested positive, an official said.
Since the virus hit India — which has been under lockdown since March 25 with 109 deaths so far — medical workers have complained about not being given adequate protective gear.
Mumbai city authority spokesman Vijay Khabale-Patil said that the Wockhardt Hospital has been declared a “containment zone” after the cases were confirmed.
“Three hundred staffers have been quarantined and the hospital is shut,” he said.
The United Nurses Association (UNA) in Mumbai accused hospital management of failing to protect staff by refusing to let them wear appropriate safety gear.
“They told the medical staffers to wear simple (surgical) masks... and attend to the patient,” said Akash S. Pillai, UNA general secretary for Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital.
“They were thinking that if the staff wore protective gear, family members of COVID-19 patients would get scared,” he said.
“Many well-known hospitals in Mumbai and Pune are putting their staffers through the same risks,” he said.
He added that Wockhardt waited too long to carry out tests on its staff, thereby increasing the possibility for infections to spread.
India has so far recorded over 4,000 coronavirus cases.
But experts caution the real numbers are likely to be far higher, with the country carrying out little testing of its 1.3 billion population compared to many other countries.
Mumbai, home to 12.5 million people according to the 2011 census, has so far confirmed 458 cases, including five in the Dharavi area, home to one of Asia’s biggest slums, and 30 deaths.