CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. – Water worries in Charlotte County are heating up again as talks continue about a company’s desire to bring phosphate mining to DeSoto County.
Charlotte County Commissioners want to protect the Peace River. Millions of additional gallons of wastewater would go into the river if a new plant were to be added close by.
“This needs to be the concern of every Floridian, everybody that loves Florida for its environment needs to be concerned about this corporate monster called mosaic that is dumping millions of gallons of poisonous wastewater,” Michael Zarzano said.
Although Desoto County said no to this proposal previously, Charlotte County said they won’t support the idea until they’re sure there will be no negative impacts on water quality.
“Charlotte county lives and breathes off tourism, our waters. Fishing is number one. People come here to enjoy the water whether it’s kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, just general enjoyment of the water and our environment. The sea life, birds, it’s why people come here. It’s why I came here 30 years ago,” Chairman Bill Truex said.
“More and more people are speaking out against this practice of phosphate mining and dumping the wastewater because of what it’s doing,” Zarzano said.
Michael Zarzano said the phosphorus and nitrogen mix is killing seagrass and having a domino effect killing the manatee population. To find out more, Charlotte County Commissioners are sending letters inviting various groups to a workshop to get answers.
“When is the water being tested? What about the chain of custody of the water sampling? Is it full proof? Is it being protected? Do we know for sure that mosaic is testing it properly and honestly?” Zarzano asked.
Water protection is paramount to the board. For that reason, they’re trying to get as much information as possible.
“We only get one earth right, we only get one opportunity and if it gets too far down the path unfortunately it’s going to be almost impossible to bring it back,” Truex said.
The letters went out to the Florida DEP, the Southwest Florida Water Management District, Desoto County and Mosaic.
A representative from the Southwest Florida Water Management District said:
“District staff have reviewed the letter from the Charlotte County Board of County Commissioners.
We would be happy to come and talk about the things the District does to protect water quality in Charlotte Harbor, which is one of the District’s Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) priority water bodies. In addition to our SWIM plan for Charlotte Harbor, the District provides funding and works closely with the Coastal and Heartland National Estuary Program, conducts seagrass mapping, and provides funding for water quality improvement projects through its Cooperative Funding Program.
However, mining protections for water quality would need to be addressed by the Florida Department of Environmental…