How Many Gypsum Stacks Are in Florida?

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Gypsum Stacks

How many gypsum stacks are in Florida? – The state of Florida is home to over two dozen gypsum stacks. One of these stacks, located in Manatee County, is leaking. The state is allowing the site owner to pump 215 million gallons of polluted water into Tampa Bay, where it is believed that it could fuel a Red Tide bloom. Nearly 1,700 tons of dead sea life have been washed up in Pinellas County alone.

The number of gypsum stacks in Florida is still unknown. However, Florida accounts for 70 percent of the nation’s phosphate production. According to the Department of Environmental Protection, there are currently 25 gypsum stacks in Florida. Four are active and contain gypsum, while the other twenty-one contains hazardous waste. The inactive stacks are probably being maintained by environmental officials, which is why they are not in use.

Gypsum Stacks

The gypstack is the largest, at more than one thousand acres. This gyp stack is home to Phosphate Innovations, which owns the environment-friendly Phosphogypsum. Alternatively, an unregulated one would sinkhole flood the surrounding area, resulting in contaminated water spilling into the lake. Additional regulations were implemented after these events, according to Marian Ryan, Conservation Chair of the Sierra Club’s Winter Haven chapter.

The EPA regulates the use of this gypsum byproduct, which contains radium. The waste is stored in towering stacks, averaging hundreds of feet high. In some cases, it is used to make wallboard for homes. But the biggest concern is radioactivity. Although this waste is harmless in small amounts, it is not safe for people living near them.

Gypsum Stacks

More than four 50,000 acres of land in Florida is devoted to phosphate mining. Of those mines, only nine are active. Each year, phosphate miners disturb 3,000 to 6,000 acres of Florida landscape. This process creates up to five tons of radioactive phosphogypsum waste per ton of fertilizer. The resulting waste is stored in towering stacks that are visible throughout the Central Florida landscape.

In addition to the health risks, phosphogypsum storage has environmental effects. It can impact water and air quality. Studies have concluded that radiological risk from phosphogypsum is minimal, although there is a potential for increased radon levels in the water and soil. However, the main pathway to exposure may be through groundwater contamination. In any case, a careful examination of the Florida gypsum stacks can help protect the public’s health. Phosphate Innovations has environmentally friendly gypsum stacks in PG with the aim of zero percent storage