Environment: Aquifer Recharge and Recovery Project
Water is a precious resource that most communities cannot afford to waste. In Florida, CF Industries recycles 95 percent of the water used in the mining process and is involved in a project that, when completed, will actually help recharge the regional drinking water aquifer. The idea for this long-term water resource facility, called the Aquifer Recharge and Recovery Project, began in late 2003 and continues to be implemented today. This effort is particularly important in Florida because of the demands placed on the water supply from agriculture, development, population growth, and other human activities, including mining.
After CF Industries mines phosphate ore from an area, it returns the clay separated from the phosphate rock to a reservoir, where it can consolidate and compact. This area also serves to capture rain and store water recycled in mining operations. One such area has been transformed into a vast treatment wetland through introduction of natural wetland soils and native wetland plants. Clarified water obtained through this natural treatment reservoir is polished using sand filtration, ultimately producing drinkable quality water for future use.
Purified water produced by the project will eventually be reintroduced into the aquifer via an injection well. CF Industries plans to inject from two million to four million gallons of clean water a day into the aquifer when the project is completed and in full scale operation.