An aerial view of the previous Piney Level phosphate plant in Palmetto, Florida. The plant processed phosphate to supply fertilizer forsaking phosphogypsum stacks as waste. (Getty Photos)
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida might research whether or not a radioactive waste byproduct of fertilizer manufacturing can be utilized to assist construct roads beneath a invoice handed by the Legislature.
The proposal, which awaits a signature from Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, would job the state with conducting a research about the usage of phosphogypsum in highway development mixture supplies.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires that phosphogypsum be positioned in ”stacks” that resemble enormous ponds. Florida has 24 such stacks, totaling about 1 billion tons of phosphogypsum, with 30 million new tons generated yearly by the phosphate fertilizer mining trade.
Environmental teams have warned about phosphogypsum spilling into waterways and elsewhere throughout storms. A leak in March 2021 at a stack referred to as Piney Level resulted within the launch of an estimated 215 million gallons (814 million liters) of polluted water into Tampa Bay and induced huge fish kills.
The EPA regulates phosphogypsum as a result of the fabric accommodates radium-226, a naturally occurring radioactive substance that produces radon gasoline, which is a hazardous air pollutant.