April 5, 2021: Officials Warn of Potential Catastrophic Event as Toxic Reservoir on the Verge of Collapse in Tampa, FL

Hundreds of residents were evacuated in Manatee County, Florida over the holiday weekend when Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis, declared a state of emergency for the county. According to officials, the reservoir pond at the former Piney Point phosphate processing plant has a significant leak.
The Manatee Director of Public Safety, Jake Saur, stated “A portion of the containment wall at the leak site shifted laterally, signifying that structural collapse could occur at any time.”
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, Nikki Fried, sent a letter to Governor DeSantis on Saturday in which she requested an emergency session of the Florida Cabinet to discuss the situation. In her letter, she stated that the leaking water is “contaminated, radioactive wastewater,” and noted that this leak is not the property’s first. She went on to say “For more than 50 years, this Central Florida mining operation has caused numerous human health and environmental disasters and incidents. There have been numerous, well-documented failures — which continue today — of the property’s reservoir liner, including leaks, poor welds, holes, cracks and weaknesses that existed prior to purchase by the current owner, HRK Holdings, and exacerbated since.”
On Sunday morning, Governor DeSantis held a press conference to discuss the county’s efforts. He stated the concern about the water at this moment is the nutrient makeup of the wastewater, which contains metals. He went on to say that they are pumping out 33 million gallons of water a day from the pond in an effort to avoid a full collapse and that the water is not radioactive. However, another official added that the water is “not water we want to see leaving the site.”
During the press conference, officials add that the greatest threat to the public right now is flooding. Despite pumping millions of gallons of water from the reservoir, there is still approximately 3,450 million gallons of wastewater still in the reservoir. Scott Hopes, Manatee County Administrator, said one model showed that if the reservoir were to fully collapse the area would be hit with a 20-foot wall of water within a matter of minutes. He went on to state “The controlled release is working. The breach release is traveling in the direction that we anticipated and planned for so we believe that probably by Tuesday we’re going to be in a much better position and the risk level will have decreased significantly with the governor’s assets.”

Toxic wastewater reservoir on verge of collapse in Florida could cause “catastrophic event”

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