Hearing To Reactivate Polk Gypsum Stack Set Wednesday In Bartow

Mosaic’s request to reopen an inactive gypsum stack at the former Farmland Industries site will come before the Polk County Planning Commission on Wednesday.

The 1.035-acre site is between Bartow and Mulberry north of County Road 640. The expansion, which will allow the stack to continue to operate until at least 2061, comes with a recommendation of approval from the county staff along with a long list of conditions that reflect concerns over recent incidents at other gypsum stacks in Polk County.

Gypsum stacks contain waste from the manufacturing of fertilizer. The material is slightly radioactive and contains a pool of highly acidic water at its summit.

Those conditions include requiring Mosaic to give Polk County and other relevant agencies notice within 24 hours of any sinkholes or other serious incident at or around the stack, which is projected to reach the height of 312 feet.

In addition, the proposed conditions require groundwater and surface water monitoring and gives Polk officials the discretion to seek a third-party review of data and reports Mosaic submits at Mosaic’s expense.

Following the Planning Commission hearing, the application will go before the County Commission on March 3.