Florida Phosphate Mining Disaster
The Bone Valley region, also known as the Peace River Basin, is located in south-central Florida, about 30 miles east of the Tampa Bay area. The Peace River basin includes parts of present-day Hardee, Hillsborough, Manatee and Polk counties where phosphate is mined for use in the production of agricultural fertilizers. Florida currently contains the largest known phosphate deposits in the United States.
Take a look from space
Take a closer look at what you can see on Google Maps. see hyperlink:
“https://www.Google.com/maps?ll=27.840787,-81.99678&z=10&t=m&hl=en-US&gl=US&mapclient=embed” You will see a large area of land, about thirty miles east of the Tampa Bay area, on the Florida peninsula. This area is known as the Peace River Basin. Here you will see numerous very large man-made square or rectangular shaped mine shafts filled with clear fresh water from crushed aquifer systems.
These square wells filled with fresh water from the aquifer are set apart from Florida’s beautiful natural blue lakes and ponds. These giant square wells are man-made craters made by phosphate dredgers that dig for phosphates 100 feet into Florida’s natural water supply. The water supply is in the form of underground water tables or “aquifer systems”. Google Maps clearly shows that phosphate draglines have stripped and marked the land of southwestern central Florida for a full square mile from a single phosphate mine.
The term “overburden” from phosphate industries is more commonly known to common people as lakes, ponds, trees, pastures, grasslands, rivers, natural springs, aquifer systems, watersheds, and so on. The draglines are so large and numerous that they remove thousands of acres of “overburden” in just one month of work. These massive draglines drop a hundred feet into, then crushing, and completely eliminating Florida’s natural aquifer systems. Countless volumes of water that are no longer contained in the aquifer system are free to fill newly created phosphate wells in the land of south-central Florida.
As of this writing, the phosphate mining industry continues to purchase thousands of square miles of critical wetlands, aquifer systems, and watersheds for the purpose of mining the contents in the open pit. All of this happens with the permission of the Florida state and counties as they issue permits intended for phosphate strip mines. Unfortunately, these permits grant the phosphate mining industry access to Florida’s rich geography, including Florida’s unique aquifer systems. Florida’s aquifer systems took millennia (thousands of years) to perfect themselves, and many are now totally extinct. Is Florida Phosphate More Valuable Than Florida Watersheds And Aquifers? Florida politics and the open pit mining industry say it’s every day. The (2) Florida Department of Environmental Protection Services says, “… in 2000, $ 1.13 billion worth of phosphate-based fertilizers were exported from Florida, making it another of Florida’s top export products. “.
Phosphate draglines in action
The (1) United States Geological Society (USGS) believes that draglines can be hundreds of feet tall and can also weigh hundreds of tons. The massive bucket of a dredger holds 65 cubic yards of overload, which will completely fill 10 standard dump trucks. The dragline removes up to 100 feet of soil known as overburden for the phosphate industry. Unfortunately, the first 60 feet of land contain the true treasures of Florida.
The overload is simply discarded, resulting in “phosphate waste piles.” These piles of rubble are arranged next to what is called “phosphate mine pits”. Phosphate mine shafts appear similar to a lunar landscape as opposed to the appearance of Florida’s natural beauty. The open pit mining industry operates 365 days a year throughout southwestern central Florida. This relentless overburden removal by the Florida phosphate industry causes irreparable damage to Florida’s aquifer systems.
Watersheds and aquifers
The Peace River Basin covers 2,300 square miles in southwestern Central Florida. It contains most of Florida’s phosphate mining industry, including Bone Valley. As mentioned above, phosphate mining companies use draglines to remove shallow soils (known as surcharges) down to 100 feet, removing thousands of contiguous acres from Florida’s aquifer systems.
Florida state law requires resurfacing (60 feet deep). Wetlands recover on an acre per acre, type by type. The phosphate industry reports that more than 180,000 acres (728 km2) have been reclaimed in the Peace River basin. The phosphate industry vigorously promotes its reclamation projects to restore wetlands and watersheds. Unfortunately, we are only given half truths.
All the truth
Aquifer systems cannot simply be replaced during the recovery phase. This fact is not subjective because man cannot replace what nature took thousands of years to create. The aquifers are gone, along with one of Florida’s most amazing natural resources, abundant clean fresh water. The phosphate industry claims it has reclaimed more than 180,000 acres. This is only half true because it doesn’t include the same acreage of Florida’s aquifers that are gone forever. Ironically, phosphate is a declining export.
Defined dragline work
WIKIPEDIA states: “Large traveling draglines, operating around the clock in open pit mines, excavate phosphate from raw pebbles mixed with clay and sand (known as matrix) in Bone Valley …”.
Are Florida Aquifer Systems Linked to Sinks?
The (1) USGS believes that areas prone to sinkhole collapse lie underground in southwestern central Florida. Sinkholes can be caused by large amounts of water consumption, including phosphate strip mines. These sinks are formed based on rock types, aquifer formations, destruction of aquifer formations, and lack of groundwater. This is based on the geological hydraulic pressure created by aquifer systems. Therefore, the lack of water pressure on the surface due to the destruction of the aquifer formation causes the overload to become unstable and collapse, in some cases. Unfortunately, loss of life and property can occur in the collapse of a surface. Again, the evidence points to the phosphate industry in the form of sinkholes caused by the destruction of aquifer formation.
Aquifers are nature’s hydraulic lifters. Filled with water, aquifers cannot be compressed, so the surface above aquifer systems is stable, which means there are no sinks. However, when aquifers are crushed and removed, the water in these aquifers is now free from containment. This large volume of water fills extraordinarily large and deep wells with clean, clean and fresh water. The most interesting thing is that nature now works against us in the form of sinkholes that develop over and geologically close to crushed aquifer systems.
Watersheds and aquifers in southwestern central Florida are becoming extinct due to the destruction of the aquifer system formation through phosphate mining operations. Florida’s treasures, known to the Florida phosphate mining industry as phosphate overburden, are being destroyed by the valuable phosphate.
Florida’s aquifer systems are being completely removed along with the overburden by huge phosphate draglines. A valuable phosphate is removed leaving (visible from Google Maps) huge blue holes. These beautiful large blue holes are tens of thousands of acres of phosphate fringed mine shafts where local natural aquifers have been completely destroyed.
Not surprisingly, the Tampa Bay area in Florida is a sinking catastrophe. This area is directly adjacent to the largest phosphate strip mines in the continental United States, where the entire land area of south-central Florida is being supported by the largest aquifer system in the state. The system is known as the Flordan water system. see hyperlink:
(1) United States Geological Survey (USGS).
(2) Florida Department of Environmental Protection Services.