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Offline Jim DeLuca

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Just wondering....
« on: October 26, 2010, 02:37:47 PM »
As I was riding today I thought about what effects breathing in the dust of old phosphate pits has on your lungs?  Any answers?

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Re: Just wondering....
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2010, 03:24:10 PM »
Have you suffered from Mesothelioma?

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Offline psychlyst

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Re: Just wondering....
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2010, 03:31:41 PM »
Roz sees ya wheezin' out there!... ;D

Offline lozerpez

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Re: Just wondering....
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2010, 04:10:20 PM »
The verdict is not in. Radioactive material is brought to the surface during mining. There are no conclusive studies that indicate that the amount is affecting plants or animals. There are however some alarmists who think the water in those areas is contaminated and drinking it would be harmful. No one I know would consider drinking water from any of the sources where we ride FL. Ride on and enjoy!

Offline Jim DeLuca

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Re: Just wondering....
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2010, 05:13:09 PM »
Have you suffered from Mesothelioma?

 1-800-AKS-GARRY CAN HELP





Ya know Gary is a Chiropractor, but he will get you an Attorney! 

The verdict is not in. Radioactive material is brought to the surface during mining. There are no conclusive studies that indicate that the amount is affecting plants or animals. There are however some alarmists who think the water in those areas is contaminated and drinking it would be harmful. No one I know would consider drinking water from any of the sources where we ride FL. Ride on and enjoy!


Yeah it's not like I care, as I have been exposed to everything known to man.  Just was curious.  Personally, I think it's no worse than breathing in everyday pollution.   

Offline MtKillanewbieDH

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Re: Just wondering....
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2010, 05:22:00 PM »
Sounds like somebody works for the Florida Institute for Phosphate Research!

I've read quite a lot about phosphate mining here in central Florida. Yes, there is "radioactivity" to old mine sites (Phosphate contains Uranium) but you're exposed to lots more radiation on an airplane flight than in hanging around at an old mine. I've determined, like the previous poster, that there's very very very very very little or no risk from just riding bikes around Boyette, Carter or Alafia. So ride on.

So while the radioactivity is not a problem, there are serious environmental consequences to the strip-mining of Phosphate. The most egregious environmental impact is on the water supply. The Peace River is drying up as a result of Phosphogypsum stacking and the accumulation of water in the pits left by phosphate strip mining.

I find this a very interesting subject. I wish we had more threads on this stuff. I can't help but think about why we have terrain like we do when I'm riding Ridgeline, Rollercoaster, or the fingers. The clay we find out at Alafia that becomes so evil in the wet is not naturally occuring - it is a by product of the phosphate extraction process.

The EPA banned the use of phosphogypsum of a particular level of radioactivity. So, once the phosphate is mined and the good stuff is used to make fertilizer or shipped to China to make drywall, much more bad stuff is left (5:1 ratio of bad to good). There are ways to productively use the phosphogypsum, but it's not economically profitable for the mining companies, so they tend to just stack it up. We now have enough phosphogypsum stacked up here in Florida to give more than 1 ton to each person in China.

Check out
this satellite image of the area around Fort Meade (think Jimmie Cottons). What looks like pools of water is somewhat deceiving - often Gyp stacks are topped with waste water ponds that contain a bunch of nasty stuff. In 1994 a sinkhole opened underneath one of these stacks...



You can still see
evidence of the hole:


OK, works over, time to go home. Sorry for all the unnecessary info.
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Offline Albe23

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Re: Just wondering....
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2010, 09:45:36 PM »
Great bit of info mksandoz!  You speak true about the radiation.  Being a Nuclear Electrician in the USN for 6 yrs I have learned that radiation isn't the devil it's made out to be.  For instance, the average American absorbs 300mrem of radiation a year from natural sources (cosmic, radon from dirt, etc.).  The entire 6yrs of working around reactors in the NAVY I absorbed roughly 150mrem.  The limit for civilian workers is 5rem/yr, with no effects on health.  Further your body can take quite high acute doses of radiation before bad things happen.
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Offline roadie scum

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Re: Just wondering....
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2010, 10:08:57 PM »
[size=78%]Sounds like somebody works for the Florida Institute for Phosphate Research![/size]

[size=78%]I've read quite a lot about phosphate mining here in central Florida. Yes, there is "radioactivity" to old mine sites (Phosphate contains Uranium) but you're exposed to lots more radiation on an airplane flight than in hanging around at an old mine. I've determined, like the previous poster, that there's very very very very very little or no risk from just riding bikes around Boyette, Carter or Alafia. So ride on.[/size]

[size=78%]So while the radioactivity is not a problem, there are serious environmental consequences to the strip-mining of Phosphate. The most egregious environmental impact is on the water supply. The Peace River is drying up as a result of Phosphogypsum stacking and the accumulation of water in the pits left by phosphate strip mining. [/size]

[size=78%]I find this a very interesting subject. I wish we had more threads on this stuff. I can't help but think about why we have terrain like we do when I'm riding Ridgeline, Rollercoaster, or the fingers. The clay we find out at Alafia that becomes so evil in the wet is not naturally occuring - it is a by product of the phosphate extraction process. [/size]

[size=78%]The EPA banned the use of phosphogypsum of a particular level of radioactivity. So, once the phosphate is mined and the good stuff is used to make fertilizer or shipped to China to make drywall, much more bad stuff is left (5:1 ratio of bad to good). There are ways to productively use the phosphogypsum, but it's not economically profitable for the mining companies, so they tend to just stack it up. We now have enough phosphogypsum stacked up here in Florida to give more than 1 ton to each person in China.[/size]

[size=78%]Check out [/size][size=78%]this satellite image [/size][size=78%]of the area around Fort Meade (think Jimmie Cottons). What looks like pools of water is somewhat deceiving - often Gyp stacks are topped with waste water ponds that contain a bunch of nasty stuff. In 1994 a sinkhole opened underneath one of these stacks...[/size]

[size=78%][/size]

[size=78%]You can still see [/size][size=78%]evidence of the hole[/size][/size][size=78%]:[/size][size=78%]


[/size][size=78%]OK, works over, time to go home. Sorry for all the unnecessary info.[/size][size=78%]



A little clarification.  The areas we ride (Carter Road, Alafia) are the old mine pits.  All the materials there are natural.  The ridges are the stripped and stacked overburden, a mixture of sand and clay that did not contain sufficient phosphate while the water filled pits are the last mine row.  The matrix (clay, phosphate and sand) that is mined is slurried and pumped to the processing plants.  The clay fraction after initial processing is then pumped to clay settling ponds and is affectionately known as clay slimes.  These materials take years to consolidate and make future development difficult. 


The strip mining processes that gave us Carter and Alafia (leaving the spoil rows and pits) will not happen anymore since as part of their permitting process, reclamation is required.  I know this will get more comments, but to some, the reclaimed mine land is quite a sportman's paradise with fish and waterfowl.


Finally, while the industry does use a [/size]substantial [size=78%][/size]amount[size=78%] of water, the volume stored on top of the gypsum stacks is a minor quantity in the grand scheme of things compared to the total water balance of the chemical process. 

[/size]Like most things, the truth is usually a combination of the story from both sides. [size=78%]
« Last Edit: October 26, 2010, 10:12:48 PM by roadie scum »

Offline $irWattZZZZ

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Re: Just wondering....
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2010, 09:36:59 AM »
Ride Roadzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
That Gyp will kill ya ;D

Offline MtKillanewbieDH

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Re: Just wondering....
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2010, 09:47:17 AM »
Thanks for the clarifications, fellow roadie scum. Do you work in the industry?

You are correct about the clay. I had to look up overburden - basically the hills we ride are the stuff that was on top of the phosphate, some of which is clay. So yes, all the materials are natural, but placed in a rather unnatural fashion.

I don't disagree that these old mines provide opportunities for leisure activities - it'd be plain stupid to disagree with that as a Florida mountain biker! I just think its important to acknowledge the environmental impact of this mining activity, so that things can be done to lessen the impact.

Check out this article from 2003 about one Phosphate mine that went bankrupt, leaving the government with the responsibility to fix a problematic gyp stack. The solution the government came up with in this case was to take much of the leftover wastewater and dump it in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico.
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Offline $irWattZZZZ

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Re: Just wondering....
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2010, 09:51:28 AM »
Check out this article from 2003 about one Phosphate mine that went bankrupt, leaving the government with the responsibility to fix a problematic gyp stack. The solution the government came up with in this case was to take much of the leftover wastewater and dump it in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico.

BRILLIANT ::)

Offline Big Hooper

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Re: Just wondering....
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2010, 11:04:44 AM »
thats when they took barges out of Port manatee with the stuff instead of letting it leak into Bishops Harbor. I used to fihs alot back then and that was and still is a prime fishing spot on SE Tampa Bay.
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Offline firebiker

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Re: Just wondering....
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2010, 07:35:25 PM »
I agree that as a rider we have benifited from the mining done prior to the 70's. But the ecological impacts are steep. The industry has made strides in recent years but anytime there is that much soil disturbance the landscape will never return to it's native state. Hydrology is impacted as is the habitat. Sure vegetation can be replanted to some extent but it will never provide the type of habitat that it once did. That being said, in some cases the habitat actually improves if the mined area was something other than native vegetation. 
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