Florida sinkhole is leaking radioactive water into the ground


A Florida company kept a dangerous secret from the public for three weeks: A massive sinkhole had leaked at least 215 million gallons of radioactive water into an aquifer.

The mining company said workers first noticed it around the end of August, but didn't tell anyone because they found "no risk to the public."

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And the sinkhole seems to be draining into an aquifer that provides drinking water to millions of people. It also feeds water into springs used for recreational activites.

See photos of other infamous sinkholes from around the world:

17 PHOTOS
Massive, shocking sinkholes from around the world
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Massive, shocking sinkholes from around the world
SOLIKAMSK, RUSSIA - NOVEMBER 20: A view of a sinkhole stretching 20 by 30 meters at the Solikamsk-2 mine on November 20, 2014 in Solikamsk, Perm region, Russia. (Photo by Uralkali Press Center/TASS/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
SOLIKAMSK, RUSSIA - NOVEMBER 20: A view of a sinkhole stretching 20 by 30 meters at the Solikamsk-2 mine on November 20, 2014 in Solikamsk, Perm region, Russia. (Photo by Uralkali Press Center/TASS/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JULY 9 - A sinkhole on Disco Rd. near the Hwy 427 is seen as a result of Monday's rain storm. July 9, 2013. (Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Buildings collapse into a sinkhole at the Summer Bay Resort on U.S. Highway 192 in Clermont, Florida, Monday, August 12, 2013. No one was injured but about three dozen resort goers left behind car keys, medication and other personal belongings inside their luxury condominiums after the crumbling edifices were evacuated. (Red Huber/ Orlando Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JULY 9: A sinkhole opened up on Disco Road at Hwy 427 after a massive storm and flooding in the GTA. (Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 18: Workers pull a truck from a sinkhole that opened up on a residential street in the South Deering neighborhood on April 18, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. The driver of the truck was hospitalized after driving into the 15-feet-deep hole while on his way to work. Two other vehicles were also swallowed by the sinkhole. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 18: Workers prepare to pull a truck from a sinkhole that opened up on a residential street in the South Deering neighborhood on April 18, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. The driver of the truck was hospitalized after driving into the 15-feet-deep hole while on his way to work. Two other vehicles were also swallowed by the sinkhole. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Rescuers cover a dead body found in a sinkhole on a road in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong province on May 21, 2013. Five people died when a 10 metre (33 feet) wide sinkhole opened up at the gates of an industrial estate in Shenzhen, the southern Chinese boom town neighbouring Hong Kong, local authorities said on May 21. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read AFP/AFP/Getty Images)
Workers block off the site of a huge sinkhole which occured overnight on Shiliuzhuang road, in Beijing on April 26, 2011. A section of the road collapsed beneath a truck, slightly injuring the driver and a passenger, who both jumped out the vehicle beforeit sank into the hole, as an authoritiy suspects the hole was caused by the construction of a subway line. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
A truck lies in a sinkhole which occured overnight on Shiliuzhuang road, in Beijing on April 26, 2011. A section of the road collapsed beneath a truck, slightly injuring the driver and a passenger, who both jumped out the vehicle beforeit sank into the hole, as an authoritiy suspects the hole was caused by the construction of a subway line. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Large sinkhole at the Dead Sea coast Israel

(Photo: Getty Images)

Workers have been working around the clock to fix a broken water main on northbound I-25 at the 58th Ave. exit on Sunday, February 10, 2008. A workmen monitor the filling of the hole around the repaired pipe (the white one at bottom of photo) with FlashFill, a flowable fill material. As Doug Sandrock (right) of Denver Water said, 'It's like waiting for the swimming pool to fill.' They were racing to try and get the road back for tomorrow's rush hour. Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post (Photo By Cyrus McCrimmon/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Workers block off the site of a huge sinkhole which occured overnight on Shiliuzhuang road, in Beijing on April 26, 2011. A section of the road collapsed beneath a truck, slightly injuring the driver and a passenger, who both jumped out the vehicle beforeit sank into the hole, as an authoritiy suspects the hole was caused by the construction of a subway line. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
CHEVY CHASE, MD - DECEMBER 3: A car sits in a sinkhole caused by a broken water main, which collapsed part of Friendship Blvd. on December 3, 2010 in Chevy Chase, Maryland. No one was reported injured in the accident. (Photo by Logan Mock-Bunting/Getty Images)
Members of a construction crew use jackhammers in a sinkhole at an intersection on W. 48th Street, New York, New York, 1958. (Photo by Weegee (Arthur Fellig)/International Center of Photography/Getty Images)
Police officers and others look at a sinkhole caused by flooding, New York, New York, mid 20th century. (Photo by Weegee (Arthur Fellig)/International Center of Photography/Getty Images)
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The water has a radioactive material known as phosphogypsum, a byproduct from using phosphate to create fertilizer. Phosphogypsum is placed into stacks and maintained to limit the amount radioactive material leaking into the air.

Locals around the sinkhole told Newsy's partners at WFTS that they're worried about the safety of their drinking water.

"We have a well, and so if it ends up in the aquifer, it's going to end up with us," resident Amy Gibson told WFTS.

But officials from the plant say they took the necessary steps required by law when they first noticed the sinkhole.

One way the company is helping to clean up the area is pumping the water that the sinkhole leaked back up through on-site wells.

And the Florida Department of Environmental Protection confirmed that the company "immediately took steps to investigate and initiate corrective action."

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