Phosphate Mining Severe Environmental Impacts


Over the past seventy years, Florida’s phosphate industry let many man-made severe environmental accidents occur one after another over the years, causing serious environmental impacts to pristine “one of a kind” ecological regions of Florida. The Florida taxpayers are also paying for the court costs, attorney fees, and the like while the court battles continue daily between federal and state environmental agencies versus Florida’s industry officials.


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,” a non-profit organization committed to protecting and restoring North American rivers.

The central Florida region holds unique pristine watersheds, marshlands, bogs, and other freshwater naturally occurring filtering systems. Watersheds are areas of land with waterways that flow to a common destination. Most of the region’s drinking water is pumped from aquifers that are “recharged” from the watersheds described above.

Phosphate plants across central Florida display severe environmental damage to Florida’s landscape which naturally contains diverse unique flora and fauna. Phosphate fertilizer production plants destroy the Peace River watershed. Many phosphate plants are located within 40 miles of the Tampa Bay Area and located over one of the largest phosphate rock deposits on Earth. This area also holds the only geo-hydrolgical ecosystem (landscape) of it’s kind anywhere!

This fact is easily seen in practice about 40 miles due east of Tampa, FL on Hwy. 60 east near Bartow, FL and about 20 miles east of Brandon,FL on Lithia Pincrest Road called the New Whales plant, or in Riverview, FL on Hwy. 41 south of Tampa, FL. All of these dangerous fertilizer plants are massive and cover tens of square miles each.

At the turn of the twenty-first century, Florida’s phosphate industry produced ($1,130,000,000) or $1.13 billion dollars worth of (phosphate based) fertilizer and was exported from Florida making it one of Florida’s leading export commodities”, says the Department of Environmental Protection Services.

The Florida phosphate strip mines display irreparable environmental damage to Florida’s landscape because the earth’s surface is being entirely removed to a depth of some fifty feet.

Phosphate industry practices surely disrespect the sovereignty of Florida’s Public Trust Doctrine. Florida’s phosphate industry practices also illustrates the industry’s cavalier attitude concerning reclamation projects and is known to be poor envoronmental stewards of the Florida landscape.

Is Florida phosphate rock more valuable than Florida’s fresh water reserves, watersheds, and aquifers? Florida politics and a phosphate strip mining industry displays it is, every day!

Florida’s Phosphate Mining Linked To Sinkholes

The United States Geological Survey (USGS), believes areas prone to sinkholes are located under the southwest central Florida earth and can be induced by large amounts of water consumption (Phosphate Strip Mines). This area covers over a thousand square miles in southwest central Florida.

These sinkholes form based on the rock types, aquifer formations, watershed destruction, and the lack of ground water. This is based on hydraulic pressure created by aquifers.

Thus, the lack of water pressure from watershed destruction causes the surface (Overburden) to become unstable and collapse in some cases. Unfortunately, loss of life and property can occur upon a surface collapse.

Again, evidence points to the phosphate industry in the form of sinkholes caused by watershed formation destruction and the loss of hydraulic surface pressure the formations create.

Phosphate Is Radio-Active

Phosphogypsum Stacks Cover Central Florida
Phosphogypsum Stack

Phosphogypsum Stack

Radio Active

Phosphogypsum stacks are 100's of feet tall and can be as large as a square mile. These stacks are full of slightly radio-active material and strong acids.

Phosphate Overburden (Waste)

Phosphate Overburden (Waste)

Phosphate Spoil Piles

In 2003 the Florida phosphate industry as a whole, strip mined (4,501) acres of virgin Florida natural treasures.