Company stops acid lake drain but environmental risk unclear
CONVENT (AP) - Officials with a company that owns an unstable, mountainous pile of waste in Louisiana say the lake of acidic water on top of the pile is now shallow enough that it's very unlikely water will escape and harm surrounding swamps.
The Advocate reports Mosaic Fertilizer recently stopped draining the lake on its gypsum pile in St. James Parish. Gypsum is a waste byproduct from Mosaic's production of phosphoric acid, which is used to make fertilizer.
State regulators say they'd prefer Mosaic keep pumping down the lake but don't have the authority to require it because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is leading the response. The EPA says Mosaic didn't need its permission.
Expert and civil engineer Rune Storesund says analyses of the situation need to be questioned because much remains unknown.