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DeSantis to Meet Manatee Officials Over Dangerous Retention Pond Leak

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — Engineering crews continue to Operate on a potential gypsum Pile collapse and Escape in the Piney Point Region of Manatee County.What You Want To Know

Evacuations, street closures stay near Piney Point phosphogypsum stacks

County, plant officials working to ditch wastewater

The problem has escalated because Friday with a State of Emergency to Manatee County being announced today by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
On-site engineers believed they situation worsened Saturday morning and suggested more evacuations.
9:50 P.M. UPDATE: Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Saturday night he would be traveling into Manatee County Sunday to speak with local officials about the potential gypsum pile collapse and leak in Piney Point.
He urged residents to follow evacuation orders in the regions affected by the continuing leak.

DeSantis is predicted to provide an update on the flow at 11 a.m. Sunday in the Manatee County Emergency Center.
In a Saturday night launch in the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Secretary Noah Valenstein said employees are attempting to make sure any discharges in the pond are”commanded and stopped as rapidly as possible.”
“We are completing rigorous water quality sampling daily to support virtually any future enforcement action,” Valenstein stated in the release. “Even though this water satisfies most water quality criteria for marine waters, you will find elevated levels of nutrients and the water is acidic. On the other hand, the water isn’t radioactive.”
6:21 P.M. UPDATE: More homes are added to those already under an evacuation order in the area of the Piney Point flow. U.S. 41 has been closed from Buckeye Road into Moccasin Wallow Road.
A number of 316 families are included in the evacuation order.

In the event of a catastrophic collapse, DeSantis ordered each county in the country to prepare for a potential influx of evacuees.
“I guide each of those counties named in Section 1 of the Executive Order to activate its County Emergency Management plan to make sure a direct state or functional readiness, and that I further direct the remaining counties in the State of Florida, in the discretion of the State Coordinating Officer, to prepare to activate all shelters to accommodate the evacuees,” the executive order stated.
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In a news conference Saturday afternoon with environmental and county officials, the behaving Manatee County administrator Dr. Scott Hopes said the stream of the leaked water is moving in the controlled direction.
There currently isn’t a complete breach.
“Plans and policies are in place and ready to be executed to guarantee the facility is secure for everybody,” Hopes stated.
Piney Point contains three ponds on the site and Hopes said there is 800 million gallons of toxic water on website.
Crews are trying to control where the flow goes.
Sen. Rick Scott declared on Twitter Saturday he is now tracking the problem at Piney Point and will work to make federal resources available if needed.

About 10-15 homes are evacuated, all in roughly a mile radius in the plant. The issue remains that reservoir could collapse, resulting in a flood of wastewater within this region.
Manatee County is operating with environmental and plant officials to ditch a number of the wastewater.
They’re pumping about 22,000 gallons per moment. Additional equipment and pumps will soon be brought in with the emergency announcement.
The whole process may take about 10 to 12 times but that’s a shifting target, in accordance with county officials.

Hopes did state all inhabitants in the mainly agricultural area are evacuated and safe and not one have requested any aid.
A complete evacuation of the Piney Point fountains site and surrounding area has been ordered.
Manatee County officials said the evacuation is due to a further collapse of a phosphogypsum stack. The collapse happened despite overnight efforts from state and local crews to fortify the broken regions.
Individuals inside a half-mile radius obtained an emergency notification to flee at 11:01 a.m.
Also, FHP Troopers out of Manatee and Hillsborough Counties will shut US-41. Presently, US-41 is shut in 113th Street East in Manatee County and now at College Avenue in Hillsborough County.
9:20 P.M. UPDATE: Manatee County officials held a news conference Friday night to share the most recent information on the efforts to include this growing situation.
The county’s new administrator, Dr. Scott Hopes, who has been on the project for two days, said it could take 10-12 days to completely alleviate the risk of a complete collapse of the retention ponds. But he predicted that deadline that a”moving target” based on the current rate of 22,000 gallons per second being pumped out of the pond to Port Manatee.
“We are utilizing a piping system which has been utilized when we dredged out the port, and we are reversing the leak,” he said.
Hopes explained there are a number of small breaches in addition to a substantial leak in the bottom of the retention pond.
“We’re not speaking about anything with radiation or high levels of heavy metals,” he explained. “Both pools include additional options.”
The area around Piney Point is mostly industrial and sparsley populated. Officials say 10-15 homes are evacuated.
8:00 P.M. UPDATE: The evacuation order has been extended to include all homes and businesses just one mile north west of Piney Point phosphogypsoum stack.

6:10 P.M. UPDATE: A crisis alert was shipped Friday afternoon which stated:
“Evacuation of area as a result of imminent rampant release of wastewater in Buckeye Road and Bud Rohden Road. Area of concern will be south of Buckeye Road, from U.S. 41 into O’Neil Road.
“Create plans to evacuate quickly from the area. Effected individuals can call 311 for information.”

ORIGINAL STORY:
MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — A little leak in a wastewater containment pond near Port Manatee is more not impossible to ditch a million gallons of phosphate byproduct-polluted water to Tampa Bay.
Everything You Want To Know
Second leak at old phosphate centre

Present leak threatens to create algae blooms, fish kill in Tampa Bay

This is the second leak in the old phosphate facility that shut down in 2003 after the company that owned it, Mulberry Corp., went bankrupt.
“I’m intensely focused on maintaining just stack stability, and knowing, I am concerned about the next hour, maybe not necessarily focused on what’s a month later on,” said Jeff Barath with HRK Holdings, the company in charge of the site.
On Friday, crews are trying to siphon off millions of gallons of wastewater in the old gypsum pile that is leaking.
It’s but one of several ponds that’s utilized to filter phosphate bi-products over several years’ period.
HRK Holdings is water to relieve pressure in the pond into a 28-acre backup pond.
Under each the gypsum piles at the prior Piney Point center is a system of thousands of feet of seams, built to shield pollutants from burning out.
The seams under more than 70 acres of ponds in the site are now 18 years of age.
Ever since last week when the leak was discovered, only trace amounts of polluted water have escaped the ponds, posing no health or safety risks.
Manatee County, although not in charge of the site, is closely tracking the emergency job to drain polluted water from the pond, and repair the leak.
“There’s nothing that we don’t know exactly just what to do, plus We’re trying to move up to off the property, of that particular pond, so the pressure Isn’t there to increase the width of the seam”
Back in 2003, Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection obtained consent to dump millions of gallons of treated wastewater from Piney Point miles out in the gulf.
The effort was supposed to alleviate the pond’s potential to float or cause leaks when the site shut.
Then in 2011, heavy rains caused problems at the site again.
The current flow in the old Piney Point site threatens to create algae blooms and wide-scale fish kill in Tampa Bay should the wastewater, with a high concentration of nitrogen and phosphate bi-products, hurry to Tampa Bay.