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Florida Phosphate Gypsum Stacks Display Severe Environmental Impacts

Nov 1, 2015 |
N/A
(Fig 1, Gypsum Stack - www.tampabay.com ) One of EPA’s (Environmental Protection Agency) main concerns with phosphate mines in Florida are with gypsum stacks (gypstack). This concern ... Read more

Florida Phosphate Mining In Sovereignty Lands

Jun 19, 2016 |
N/A
Since the turn of the twentieth century, the phosphate industry purchased large tracts of land in west central Florida, including the upper Peace River watershed. Florida’s phosphate industry ... Read more

Florida Phosphate Rock Quandary

Nov 1, 2015 |
N/A
Florida Phosphate Rock Quandary Many years ago, the ocean flooded an ancient land mass today we call Florida and a layer of sand and clay rich in tiny phosphate particles were deposited. ... Read more

Do Floridians Know About Phosphate Production’s Many Hazards?

Jan 4, 2016 |
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Florida’s phosphate industry creates many serious environmental impacts during the “wet” process in the production of fertilizer (1), including unmetered groundwater consumption. ... Read more

The Phosphate Risk: Welcome

Aug 31, 2015 |
PR: 3
The Phosphate Risk in Florida. Dragline mining machine. Phosphate companies have mined out central Florida. The phosphate depleted, the companies have ... ... Read more

Natural Spring Venue Dollars are Significant To Florida Economy

Jan 4, 2016 |
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I recall as a young boy growing up in west central Florida that natural springs were clean, fresh, and plentiful. Everyone I knew at that time had easy access to natural springs in many forms because ... Read more

Florida Residence Take FIPR Survey on the Phosphate Industry Practices

Sep 19, 2015 |
N/A
Do Florida’s residents know about the phosphate industries abysmal practice of destroying Florida’s geographical environment for the phosphate some 40 feet beneath the surface? ... Read more

Florida’s Politicians Follow the Phosphate Money

Oct 8, 2015 |
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The Florida phosphate industry demonstrates the need to donate millions of dollars to Florida’s politicians. This is easily seen by researching where, when, and how much money Florida’s ... Read more

Fertilizer Production Displays Adverse Effects On Industry Workers

Jan 18, 2016 |
N/A
(Fig. 1) Phosphate Strip Mining In Central Florida Fortunately for the United States, Central Florida is home to the largest known phosphate reserves in the world. Phosphate and its derivatives ... Read more

Florida Mines - Phosphate Draglines Aquifers, Overburden and Sinkholes

Jul 27, 2015 |
N/A
Florida Mines (Bone Valley) phosphate draglines causing Florida aquifer formation destruction, sinkholes, bone valley mines. ... Read more

EPA Disrespected by Florida’s Politicians Concerning Phosphate Radiation

Dec 18, 2015 |
N/A
(Fig. 2) Phosphate Drag Line In Background - Phosphate Waste In Foreground Florida’s phosphate dilemma started a lifetime ago when fate and the Army Corps of Engineers happened to uncover ... Read more

Phosphate Industry Strip Mining Central Florida Watersheds

May 17, 2016 |
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The state of Florida owns all riparian lands and navigable waterways held in “trust” for the public at large by the sovereignty granted to Florida at statehood in 1845 by the United ... Read more

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eMag+ Brings Revolution To Online Publishing

Dec 26, 2016 |
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Markham, Ontario: Alive Software Inc. which develops software application platforms for online publishing announced the launch of its new product. eMag+ an online publishing platform and digital ... Read more

Florida Phosphate Mining In Sovereignty Lands

Jun 19, 2016 |
N/A
Since the turn of the twentieth century, the phosphate industry purchased large tracts of land in west central Florida, including the upper Peace River watershed. Florida’s phosphate industry ... Read more

Florida Sinkholes Created By Phosphate Mining

Jun 15, 2016 |
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Florida citizens living near west-central Florida are no strangers to sinkhole formation. Unfortunately, sinkholes forming in west-central Florida are as likely to be related to regional phosphate ... Read more

Florida Phosphate Mining And The Public Trust Doctrine

Jun 12, 2016 |
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During the past seventy years of phosphate strip mining in west-central Florida, the phosphate industry has at some time been faced with strip mining navigable waterways and riparian lands as defined ... Read more

What Is a Dragline and What Does It Do?

May 26, 2016 |
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The dragline's bucket system consists of a large bucket that is suspended from a boom. The bucket is moved by many cables, chains and ropes. The hoisting rope, which is powered by either a diesel or ... Read more

Phosphate Industry Strip Mining Central Florida Watersheds

May 17, 2016 |
N/A
The state of Florida owns all riparian lands and navigable waterways held in “trust” for the public at large by the sovereignty granted to Florida at statehood in 1845 by the United ... Read more

Florida Phosphate Industry Practices Severely Disturb Navigable Waterways?

May 12, 2016 |
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Florida is known as the “Sunshine State”, but interestingly receives more rainfall than most states in the Union. Florida receives enormous amounts of yearly rainfall from north to south ... Read more

Phosphate Industry Siege On Alafia River And Watersheds

May 5, 2016 |
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The Alafia River watersheds and smaller tributaries in the area are known to be used as “navigable waterways” by the state of Florida during the early-19th century by European (1) ... Read more

Phosphate Mining In The Myakka River Watershed

May 1, 2016 |
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As a youth growing up in west central Florida, my friends and I covered countless miles of the environmentally rich landscape on foot. We pushed through wetlands, marshes, bogs, tributaries, surface ... Read more

Florida Riparian Lands And Navigable Waterway Rights

Apr 29, 2016 |
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The Peace River Valley watershed with all its tributaries, streams, bogs, marshlands, springs, and aquifers is considered by the state of Florida to be “navigable waterways” or ... Read more

Phosphate Mining The Peace River Watershed Basin

Apr 20, 2016 |
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The Peace River watershed lies in west central Florida about forty miles east of the Tampa Bay area. Florida’s Peace River was declared an “endangered river” by “American ... Read more

Florida Rivers, Springs, Lakes, And Aquifers Are Navigable Waterways With Riparian Rights?

Apr 15, 2016 |
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The Peace River headwaters in west central Florida are naturally spring fed by local aquifers “contained” in the landscape. The River “meanders” some 120 miles to the ... Read more

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Florida Phosphate Gypsum Stacks Display Severe Environmental Impacts

Title:
Florida Phosphate Gypsum Stacks Display Severe Environmental Impacts




The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has deep concerns over Florida’s phosphate industry and the hazardous waste they leave behind in the form of “gypstacks”. The EPA finds radiation in the form of gamma radiation from these hazardous waste dumps.




(Fig 1, Gypsum Stack - www.tampabay.com)

One of EPA’s (Environmental Protection Agency) main concerns with phosphate mines in Florida are with gypsum stacks (gypstack). This concern centers around the fact that radium-226 breaks down into radon gas (1). When radon gas is formed, it can become airborne, leading to potentially elevated exposures downwind of the stacks. Such airborne exposures are of particular concern to areas like Progress Village, Florida, where a new gypsum stack is rising a few hundred yards from a grade school. According to US News & World Report, there is evidence to suggest cancer rates downwind of the stacks may be elevated. The scientists noted that past phosphate mining had created elevated concentrations of radium-226 in the area's soil. Radium produces gamma rays that can penetrate the body and increase the risk for a variety of cancers. Inhaling or ingesting the uranium byproduct can increase the risk of leukemia, lymphoma and bone cancer, specifically. Trace elements associated with phosphate ore that may be present in the reclaimed soils include arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, copper, lanthanum, lead, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, selenium, uranium, vanadium, and zinc (Bromwell and Carrier, Inc.) Many of which are considered heavy metals.

Extensive water quality sampling has been conducted on reclaimed landscapes and none of these metals appear to be a concern for water quality. The FDEP (Florida Department of Environmental Protection) requires groundwater and surface water testing for each of these elements in contemporary mining permits. The EPA Superfund program considers the amount of radon gas entering homes and its decisions regarding whether to remediate manmade radium contamination are usually driven largely by how much of the radioactive metal is present in the reclaimed soil. For radium in soil, the threshold the federal agency normally uses is 5 picocuries per gram, not including the amount of radium that would occur in soil naturally. It is at this level of radium and below that the agency would consider a site to be in compliance with its cancer risk guidelines. (1)

Florida Phosphate Industry Refusing To Accept Safety Standard

In its 2006 report, the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry noted that the federal government has relied upon the 5 picocurie (radiation amounts) per gram of soil standard at many sites, and listed some in Pennsylvania, New Mexico, New York and Michigan as examples. These areas produce little phosphate rock relatively to Florida. However, Florida officials considered the threshold to be "overly conservative," the federal agency's report noted.

As far as the impact of such a phosphate mineral policy on our so-called free enterprise system, subsidized by government as it is, the survival of our nation is threatened by the present rate of phosphate mining. Phosphate is a mineral which is basic and absolutely essential to our national well-being. It is vital to agriculture and has no substitute.

Not all of the phosphate industry’s fluoride waste is disposed of in the ponds. As noted earlier, the phosphate industry has found at least one regular consumer of its silicofluorides: municipal water-treatment facilities. According to recent estimates, the phosphate industry sells approximately 200,000 tons of silicofluorides (hydrofluorosilicic acid & sodium silicofluoride) to US communities each year for use as a water fluoridation agent (Coplan & Masters 2001).

Environmental Catastrophe Based on Phosphate Mining in Florida

With the emergence of “the sinkhole”, the stack transforms from looming presence to immediate crisis. Gaping apocalyptically in helicopter-shot news photographs as contaminated water from the stack rushes in, the hole at first appears to be 120 feet in diameter and 180 feet deep. Before the hole can be closed, it expands to its final diameter of 160 feet and depth of 200 feet. Careful subsurface exploration reveals that the hole is, in fact, a sinkhole, a collapse not only in the gypsum stack itself but also in the porous underlying limestone. Millions of cubic feet of contaminated waste slurry pour directly through the hole into the Upper Floridan aquifer, a vital source of drinking water in South Florida. The hole is only closed when a team of remediation experts succeeded in plugging the subterranean cavern with thousands of cubic yards of concrete grout. (2)

Florida is the epicenter of phosphate mining in the United States, and one of a small handful of globally significant mega-miners. At the beginning of the 21st century, Florida mined nearly 75% of the nation’s phosphate and about a quarter of all global phosphate. The sheer scale of the impact of this extraction on the Floridian Peninsula is immense: by 1999, 300,000 acres of land were mined, a full one percent of the state’s surface area. That mark was hit 16 years ago.

Florida Mining Reclamation Paradigm Shift

Designers might also directly engage operative terrain. In her essay Big Nature, landscape architect Jane Amidon calls for a shift in perspective and a recognition that sites are producers ‘living systems ‘linked to supply and demand networks. Along with this reframing, Amidon advocates for a more engaged role for design in which the practice of landscape moves beyond reclamation, there is a proactive, rather than reactive stance.

More Reclamation Options Needed

Rob Holmes is an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Florida. His work explores new modes of design and planning in light of reciprocal relationships between contemporary urbanization, infrastructural networks, and large-scale anthropogenic landscape change. Currently, the primary loci for these investigations are the Four Coasts project, an examination of the human manipulation of sediments in four coastal regions of North America with the Dredge Research Collaborative (co-founded by Holmes), and design research on hydrological control infrastructures in south Florida, supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Prior to joining the University of Florida, he practiced landscape architecture with Michael Vergason Landscape Architects and taught in Virginia, Louisiana, and Ohio.

The Florida phosphate industry (historically) is very poor at environmental protection. Leaving mined land reclamation for the Florida taxpayers is historically correct as well. The most disturbing issue is the “gypstack”. Radiation in the form of gamma rays emits from these huge mounds of hazardous waste every day. Maybe this local issue will be heard by all, with the help from experts like Rob Holmes.

Reference

(1) EPA Abandons Major Radiation Cleanup in Florida,

(2) MINING: Army Corps tries to assess impacts of sprawling phosphate

Florida Mines monitors and reports on the phosphate industries severe environmental impacts.

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(Fig 1, Gypsum Stack - www.tampabay.com)

One of EPA’s (Environmental Protection Agency) main concerns with phosphate mines in Florida are with gypsum stacks (gypstack). This concern centers around the fact that radium-226 breaks down into radon gas (1). When radon gas is formed, it can become airborne, leading to potentially elevated exposures downwind of the stacks. Such airborne exposures are of particular concern to areas like Progress Village, Florida, where a new gypsum stack is rising a few hundred yards from a grade school. According to US News & World Report, there is evidence to suggest cancer rates downwind of the stacks may be elevated. The scientists noted that past phosphate mining had created elevated concentrations of radium-226 in the area's soil. Radium produces gamma rays that can penetrate the body and increase the risk for a variety of cancers. Inhaling or ingesting the uranium byproduct can increase the risk of leukemia, lymphoma and bone cancer, specifically. Trace elements associated with phosphate ore that may be present in the reclaimed soils include arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, copper, lanthanum, lead, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, selenium, uranium, vanadium, and zinc (Bromwell and Carrier, Inc.) Many of which are considered heavy metals.

Extensive water quality sampling has been conducted on reclaimed landscapes and none of these metals appear to be a concern for water quality. The FDEP (Florida Department of Environmental Protection) requires groundwater and surface water testing for each of these elements in contemporary mining permits. The EPA Superfund program considers the amount of radon gas entering homes and its decisions regarding whether to remediate manmade radium contamination are usually driven largely by how much of the radioactive metal is present in the reclaimed soil. For radium in soil, the threshold the federal agency normally uses is 5 picocuries per gram, not including the amount of radium that would occur in soil naturally. It is at this level of radium and below that the agency would consider a site to be in compliance with its cancer risk guidelines. (1)

Florida Phosphate Industry Refusing To Accept Safety Standard

In its 2006 report, the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry noted that the federal government has relied upon the 5 picocurie (radiation amounts) per gram of soil standard at many sites, and listed some in Pennsylvania, New Mexico, New York and Michigan as examples. These areas produce little phosphate rock relatively to Florida. However, Florida officials considered the threshold to be "overly conservative," the federal agency's report noted.

As far as the impact of such a phosphate mineral policy on our so-called free enterprise system, subsidized by government as it is, the survival of our nation is threatened by the present rate of phosphate mining. Phosphate is a mineral which is basic and absolutely essential to our national well-being. It is vital to agriculture and has no substitute.

Not all of the phosphate industry’s fluoride waste is disposed of in the ponds. As noted earlier, the phosphate industry has found at least one regular consumer of its silicofluorides: municipal water-treatment facilities. According to recent estimates, the phosphate industry sells approximately 200,000 tons of silicofluorides (hydrofluorosilicic acid & sodium silicofluoride) to US communities each year for use as a water fluoridation agent (Coplan & Masters 2001).

Environmental Catastrophe Based on Phosphate Mining in Florida

With the emergence of “the sinkhole”, the stack transforms from looming presence to immediate crisis. Gaping apocalyptically in helicopter-shot news photographs as contaminated water from the stack rushes in, the hole at first appears to be 120 feet in diameter and 180 feet deep. Before the hole can be closed, it expands to its final diameter of 160 feet and depth of 200 feet. Careful subsurface exploration reveals that the hole is, in fact, a sinkhole, a collapse not only in the gypsum stack itself but also in the porous underlying limestone. Millions of cubic feet of contaminated waste slurry pour directly through the hole into the Upper Floridan aquifer, a vital source of drinking water in South Florida. The hole is only closed when a team of remediation experts succeeded in plugging the subterranean cavern with thousands of cubic yards of concrete grout. (2)

Florida is the epicenter of phosphate mining in the United States, and one of a small handful of globally significant mega-miners. At the beginning of the 21st century, Florida mined nearly 75% of the nation’s phosphate and about a quarter of all global phosphate. The sheer scale of the impact of this extraction on the Floridian Peninsula is immense: by 1999, 300,000 acres of land were mined, a full one percent of the state’s surface area. That mark was hit 16 years ago.

Florida Mining Reclamation Paradigm Shift

Designers might also directly engage operative terrain. In her essay Big Nature, landscape architect Jane Amidon calls for a shift in perspective and a recognition that sites are producers ‘living systems ‘linked to supply and demand networks. Along with this reframing, Amidon advocates for a more engaged role for design in which the practice of landscape moves beyond reclamation, there is a proactive, rather than reactive stance.

More Reclamation Options Needed

Rob Holmes is an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Florida. His work explores new modes of design and planning in light of reciprocal relationships between contemporary urbanization, infrastructural networks, and large-scale anthropogenic landscape change. Currently, the primary loci for these investigations are the Four Coasts project, an examination of the human manipulation of sediments in four coastal regions of North America with the Dredge Research Collaborative (co-founded by Holmes), and design research on hydrological control infrastructures in south Florida, supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Prior to joining the University of Florida, he practiced landscape architecture with Michael Vergason Landscape Architects and taught in Virginia, Louisiana, and Ohio.

The Florida phosphate industry (historically) is very poor at environmental protection. Leaving mined land reclamation for the Florida taxpayers is historically correct as well. The most disturbing issue is the “gypstack”. Radiation in the form of gamma rays emits from these huge mounds of hazardous waste every day. Maybe this local issue will be heard by all, with the help from experts like Rob Holmes.

Reference

(1) EPA Abandons Major Radiation Cleanup in Florida,

(2) MINING: Army Corps tries to assess impacts of sprawling phosphate

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