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Mosaic Hopes to Plug Massive Polk Sinkhole by Spring

A massive sinkhole at a fertilizer plant should be plugged by spring, months after contaminated water and waste began flowing into Florida's main drinking water aquifer, the company said Friday.

In an email to The Associated Press, Mosaic spokeswoman Callie Neslund said the company recently finished a survey of the sinkhole cavity.

"Based on the survey results, the company now has a better understanding of the sinkhole dimensions — which is a critical step in remediating the sinkhole," she wrote.

Neslund said the upper cavity is between 140 feet and 150 feet in diameter at its widest point, and about 220 feet deep.

Mosaic — one of the world's largest producers of phosphate and potash for fertilizer — previously acknowledged that the contamination had spread to groundwater around the sinkhole.

The Minnesota-based company's announcement about plugging the sinkhole comes after it reached a deal with the state Department of Environmental Protection earlier this week. Mosaic is required to put up $40 million, and if it fails to follow through on the cleanup, the company will face fines of up to $10,000 per day.

Meanwhile, state environmental officials said that contaminates found in private wells near the site are not believed to be related to the sinkhole.