WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) today announced a settlement with Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC that will ensure the proper treatment, storage, and disposal of an estimated 60 billion pounds of hazardous waste at six Mosaic facilities in Florida and two in Louisiana.
The settlement resolves a series of alleged violations by Mosaic, one of the world’s largest fertilizer manufacturers, of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which provides universal guidelines for how hazardous waste must be stored, handled and disposed.
The 60 billion pounds of hazardous waste addressed in this case is the largest amount ever covered by a federal or state RCRA settlement and will ensure that wastewater at Mosaic’s facilities is properly managed and does not pose a threat to groundwater resources.
At Mosaic’s eight facilities in Florida and Louisiana, hazardous waste from fertilizer production is stored in large piles, tanks, ditches and ponds; the piles can reach 500 feet high and cover more than 600 acres, making them some of the largest manmade waste piles in the United States. The piles can also contain several billion gallons of highly acidic wastewater, which can threaten human health and cause severe environmental damage if it reaches groundwater or local waterways.
Under the settlement, Mosaic Fertilizer will establish a $630 million trust fund, which will be invested until it reaches full funding of $1.8 billion. These funds will cover the future closure of and treatment of hazardous wastewater at four Mosaic facilities—the Bartow, New Wales and Riverview plants in Florida and the Uncle Sam plant in Louisiana—as well as the long-term care of those facilities and three additional facilities that are already undergoing closure.
The Mosaic Company, Mosaic Fertilizer’s parent company, will provide financial guarantees for this work, and the settlement also requires Mosaic Fertilizer to submit a $50 million letter of credit.
Mosaic will also spend $170 million on projects to reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing and waste management programs at its facilities and $2.2 million on two local environmental projects.
Mosaic will also pay a $5 million civil penalty to the United States and $1.55 million to the State of Louisiana and $1.45 million to the State of Florida, who joined EPA and DOJ as plaintiffs in this case.