Gov. DeSantis on Piney Point:”Public Health And Safety Is The Top Priority”
MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — Following a tour with air of the the Piney Point phosphate site Easter dawn, Gov. Ron DeSantis emphasized that job is being performed to control the wastewater release, and ecological concerns are being addressed and a permanent remedy to the issue will likely be pursued.Engineering crews and environmental and state officials continue to function on the growing breach and potential collapse of a gypsum stack at the Piney Point phosphate site in Manatee County.
What started as a leak which prompted 10-15 homes to be evacuated escalated on Saturday since Florida ordered more than 300 homes to be evacuated and closed off multiple roadways Saturday near the massive reservoir north of Bradenton. Officials have said a collapse may be”imminent.”
DeSantis ordered a State of Emergency to Manatee County Saturday that expanded to Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.
Everything You Will Need To Know
Crews continue functioning on potential collapse of gypsum stack at Piney Point facility in Manatee County
Evacuations, road closures stay near Piney Point phosphogypsum stacks
More: Advice on the escape in the Florida Department of Environmental Protection
“What we’re looking at today is attempting to prevent and react to if need be is a genuine catastrophic flood situation,” DeSantis said, adding public health and security is the top priority, in addition to minimizing any environmental impacts.
The governor said an additional 20 pumps and 10 vacuums are being brought in to keep from the controlled release of wastewater, about 35 million gallons per day. That is critical to prevent a full violation of the dripping Piney Point reservoir.
He encouraged citizens to follow evacuation orders from the regions affected by the ongoing leak and said taxpayers could call 311 for advice, follow @ManateeGov on Twitter or go to protectingfloridatogether.gov.
U.S. 41 stays closed from Buckeye Road to Moccasin Wallow Road. Moccasin Wallow Road will be closed west of 38th Avenue East.
Crews continue to deal with the escape, potential collapse of the gypsum stack at the Piney Point phosphate facility. (Sky 9)
Officials introduced in stones and substances to plug the hole in the pond late Friday into Saturday, but the effort was unsuccessful.
There are more than 800 million gallons of toxic waste water in the Piney Point site. The issue remains that a violation will trickle millions of their poisonous water into the surrounding area.
The water is a byproduct of generation of fertilizer from phosphate rock. It’s acidic and slightly sterile and also the stacks have long been a source of controversy among environmentalists.
“That is nothing which should come as surprise to officials which have been monitoring this phosphogypsum stack,” said Jaclyn Lopez, Florida Director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “It has had a series and background of repeated escapes and breaches and sparks into Tampa Bay and this newest is the very alarming since it’s due to this people notice that has forced the evacuation and the Senate to declare a state of crisis.”
Employees have been pumping thousands of liters per minute at the site to bring the volume down in case the pond bursts. Pumping the whole pond would take 10 to 12 days. Others have been working to chart the path to control the way the water flows out of the pond into the Tampa Bay.
In addition to the local and state officials, the EPA will have agents on site as well Sunday.