PALMETTO â ???? Gov Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in Manatee County on Saturday, as officials fear an “imminent” one A breakdown in the old Pineat Point phosphate facility could emit a stream of polluted water into the area and then in Tampa Bay itself

The situation got worse when the crews tried to support a break in a wall around a 480 million gallon sewage reservoir that had been leaking for days.They used front loaders, excavators and dump trucks to pile debris over the gap

But at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, the on-site engineers thought the situation was escalating Jacob Saur, director of public safety in Manatee County said a containment wall had been moved aside, he said, signaling that structural collapse could occur at any time

An “immense amount of water” could gush out in a leaf in seconds or minutes if berms break open wide on site, said acting district administrator Scott Hopes

Due to a possible breach of mixed saltwater from the southern reservoir at the Piney Point facility, I have declared a state of emergency for Manatee County to ensure resources are allocated for the necessary & restoration

The tide could be several feet high and move through the immediate area before flowing towards the bay, where environmentalists fear it could damage the ecosystem

“???? If you haven’t evacuated please do” ???? he told the residents of the area that we in the county are doing everything we can to reduce the riskâ ????

There were approximately 15 to 20 houses in the first evacuation zone.The Sheriff’s Office said all residents there believed to have walked safely. About 6 p.m. On Saturday, the county announced it would expand the evacuation area to an estimated 316 houses and pointed out the possibility a large-scale offense ???? The new order shifted the evacuations to the west and south-west

BREAKING: @ MCGPublicSafety officials have just expanded a mandatory evacuation area to include the ruptured Piney Point Reservoir The original evacuation zone has expanded half a mile west and a mile southwest to Moccasin Wallow Road ImageTwittercom / 8rjsQrptdr

The governor’s emergency order also covers Hillsborough and Pinellas counties as they are in the vicinity of an imminent danger ???? The DeSantis administration started shipping pumps, cranes, and other heavy equipment, Hopes said, as the county might need these tools in the event of a breakdown

“I don’t think we’re talking about a 30 foot tidal wave when (Hurricane) Katrina hit the Mississippi coast”Hopes said

An engineer working on site has already described how an uncontrolled discharge can damage surrounding properties and a nearby motorway

A cell phone alert was sent out at 11 a.m. Saturday saying a collapse could happen at any time The county advised anyone with questions about the evacuation to call 3-1-1 Authorities said they did not believe the situation was a Pose a danger to a nearby prison

Florida Highway Patrol soldiers have shut down US 41 at 113th Street E on Manatee and College Avenue in Hillsborough County, according to a statement

To be on the safe side, the Department of Environmental Protection moved a command post it set up at Piney Point to the Manatee County’s Emergency Operations Center in Bradenton The agency’s secretary, Noah Valenstein, traveled to Tampa Bay on Saturday and informed the governor about the situation at Piney Point

“We can care about nutrients in the environment,” Valenstein told the Tampa Bay Times The Bay is Resilient We can monitor, enforce and hold the company accountable

The situation worsened less than a day after workers noticed a “seepage outbreak” on the property owned by a company called HRK Holdings in a wall around the reservoir on Friday

Overnight, Hopes said, the district workers had hoped to curb this debris and rock problem

“???? The attempt was to plug the hole in the dam” ???? he said they reached a point where they wanted to party and it blew through …

According to the county, it is believed that between 2 and 3 million gallons of water flow from the breach per day, according to estimates by county officials, about 380 million gallons of sewage were left in the reservoir as of Saturday afternoon

Throughout the week, employees at the old factory across from Port Manatee have been trying to drain polluted water from the pond.They want to reduce the pressure created by the leak as it threatens to break dikes and berms. If they have to drain the reservoir completely, Hopes said it could take 10 to 12 days to fix the leak

Officials believe the incident could be the result of a tear in a plastic sheet in the pond They have not confirmed the cause

Sewage, Valenstein said, was flowing into Port Manatee at a rate of about 35 million gallons a day on Saturday. By Thursday morning, at least 25 million gallons had been shipped this way

The old Piney Point facility on the edge of Tampa Bay has been threatening the region with an ecological disaster for decades. Polluted discharges have already occurred, with some reaching a nearby water conservation area

There was a fertilizer manufacturer on site before it was abandoned. Long piles of phosphogypsum left? Berms that rise above the surrounding area and need to be monitored due to the radioactivity of the material. Phosphogypsum is a by-product of phosphate processing

In a statement released late Saturday, Valenstein said the water in the leaky reservoir is not radioactive, although there are elevated nutrient levels and the water is acidicâ ????

According to regulators, the reservoir contains a mixture of seawater from an old dredging project in the port, rainwater and polluted water left behind by the fertilizer industry

Environmentalists fear that nutrients, including nitrogen, fuel harmful algal blooms that could harm marine life in the estuary

“We hope the contamination is not as bad as we fear, but we are preparing for significant damage to Tampa Bay and the communities that depend on this valuable resource,” said a statement from Justin Bloom, a board member of the Clean Water Stakeholders Tampa Bay Waterkeeper and Suncoast Waterkeeper

Brooks Armstrong, director of People for Protecting Peace River and critic of phosphate mining, described the incident as a “totally predictable catastrophe” and blamed inadequate monitoring of fertilizer production

Fast Piney Point update via Facebook Live on the corner of US 41 and Buckeye Road https: // tco / pBS5eRmMae

District leaders said Saturday that even if the 480 million gallon reservoir collapses, they hope other ponds on the property won’t necessarily follow suit while fish live in the reservoir, which is in imminent danger, Hopes said, some of the other water could be more heavily contaminated

@FLSERT replies to #PineyPoint We have pumps, pump trucks, vac trucks and over 100000 bottles of water mobilized The EOC is open and ready for use (as we have not closed in 393 days) @KevinGuthrieFL was used in the region We support @FLDEPNews

HRK Holdings was recently responsible for the waste disposal at Piney Point. It bought the property to create what Eastport calls it and rented space for storage and industrial companies across from Port Manatee

Years ago, the state was held accountable for the property through a court-appointed recipient after being bogged down with the plaster stacks and contaminated ponds when the last owner of the facility went out of business

Florida Commissioner for Agriculture Nikki Fried asked the governor to call an emergency State Cabinet meeting so that senior officials could be informed of the incident

Sens Rick Scott and Marco Rubio both said they are following the situation and are ready to seek federal help if necessary US. Rep Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, said the Environmental Protection Agency plans to send someone to Piney Point to assess the emerging crisis ”

Manatee County recently made finding a long-term solution to the gypsum stacks and sewer ponds at Piney Point a priority as it was warned that the reservoirs are fast approaching capacity Commissioners are calling for government funding to install an injection well that will The aim is to pump water deep underground

Valenstein said that his agency would support this plan and that regulators need to ensure that this website is closedâ ????

Department of Environment spokeswoman Shannon Herbon said the state will hold site owners accountable for damage to natural resources

Manatee County, Piney Point

World News – US – Evacuations increase as Manatee phosphate facility collapses

Source: https://www.tampabay.com/news/breaking-news/2021/04/03/old-tampa-bay-phosphate-plant-leak-grows-more-dire-prompting-highway-closure/