Phosphate waste leftovers of Florida facing Hurricane Ian

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Phosphate waste leftovers of Florida facing Hurricane Ian

ST PETERSBURG - The polluted leftovers of the Florida phosphate fertiliser mining industry, more than 1 billion tons in stacks that resemble enormous ponds, are at risk for leaks or other contamination when Hurricane Ian comes to the state, environmental groups say.

Florida has 24 such phosphogypsum stacks, most of which are concentrated in mining areas in the central part of the state. According to the Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute, about 30 million tons of this slightly radioactive waste are generated every year.

A major storm event like the one we are bracing for can inundate the facilities with more water than the open-air ponds can handle, said Ragan Whitlock, staff attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, who said in an email on Tuesday Sep 27 that we are extremely concerned about the potential impacts that Hurricane Ian may have on phosphate facilities around the state.