Florida Works to Avoid 'Catastrophic' Pond Collapse

Florida faces imminent collapse of giant phosphate mine pond

Radioactive wastewater leak prompts evacuation in Florida

Workers have been pumping out thousands of gallons per minute at the site to bring the volume down in the event the pond bursts.

Officials are working to prevent a collapse but according to Scott Hopes, Manatee's acting county administrator, attempts to plug the leak with rocks and other earth materials have failed.

Manatee County Jail is relocating over 300 inmates due to the water breach at Piney Point.

How are local officials describing the situation?


An Instagram user posted
An Instagram user posted

Authorities have closed off portions of the U.S. Highway 41 and ordered evacuations of 316 homes.

On Sunday, he said the water was "primarily saltwater" from a dredging project mixed with "legacy process water and storm water runoff". Instead, "we will be depleting the holding ponds of their water, and then we will be moving forward to a permanent solution into the future", he said.

Now about 22,000 gallons of water are being discharged per minute, and Hopes said he expects the risk of collapse to decrease by Tuesday.

Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency over the county Saturday.

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"So if you are in an evacuation area and you have not heeded that, you need to think twice and follow the orders", said Hopes at a news conference with DeSantis.

"Evacuate area NOW. Collapse of Piney Point stack imminent!"

"The radiologicals are still below surface water discharge standards".

The Environmental Protection Agency said late Sunday that it is "actively monitoring the ongoing situation at Piney Point" and has "deployed an on-scene coordinator" to work with local officials. "The State is committed to holding HRK and all involved parties accountable".

Situation at Leaking Piney Point Plant in Florida 'Critical’, Authorities Say
County and state officials are now working to pump water out of the reservoir to reduce the quantity in the event of a breach. A significant leak at a large pond of wastewater threatened to flood roads and burst a system that stores polluted waters.

Fried details in her letter how previously-known poor maintenance by current and former phosphate mine owners have created a risky situation for local residents, communities and even state-managed lands and waters.

In 2016, more than 200 million gallons of contaminated waste water from another fertiliser plant in central Florida leaked into one of the state's main aquifers after a massive sinkhole opened up in a pond of a phosphogypsum stack.

But the EPA says too much nitrogen in the wastewater causes algae to grow faster, leading to fish kills.

"We hope the contamination is not as bad as we fear but are preparing for significant damage to Tampa Bay and the communities that rely on this precious resource", Justin Bloom, founder of the Sarasota-based nonprofit organization Suncoast Waterkeeper, said in a statement.

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