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Florida expands evacuation efforts before the possible “catastrophic” 340M gallon leak at the phosphate plant



Manatee County, Florida, expanded evacuation efforts before the ponds of the former phosphate processing plant could experience a “catastrophic failure,” which could lead to devastating flooding.

Governor Ron DeSantis spoke at a press conference in Piney Point on Sunday, stressing that the state is actively responding to the crisis.

Disantis said: “Public health and safety are the top priority.”

The focus is on the abandoned Piney Point Fertilizer Plant Reservoir, which contains hundreds of millions of gallons of wastewater, which began to leak due to a broken wall.

Disantis said that workers are currently pumping 33 million gallons of waste water every day. He emphasized that the water discharged to Manatee Port is being tested and is “not radioactive.”

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In the event of a catastrophic failure, the reservoir will dump about 340 million gallons of wastewater into the surrounding area, which some experts have calculated may cause 20-foot-high water streams to wash the area of ​​hundreds of houses.

This photo shows the reservoir near the old Piney Point Phosphate Mine in Bradenton, Florida on Saturday, April 3, 2021. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency on Saturday. Blasted a system storing contaminated water. The pond where the leak was found is located in the ancient Piney Point phosphate mine, in a pile of phosphogypsum, a waste product from the production of radioactive fertilizers.  (Tiffany Tompkins/Bradenton Herald via AP)

This photo shows the reservoir near the old Piney Point Phosphate Mine in Bradenton, Florida on Saturday, April 3, 2021. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency on Saturday. Blasted a system storing contaminated water. The pond where the leak was found is located in the ancient Piney Point phosphate mine, in a pile of phosphogypsum, a waste product from the production of radioactive fertilizers. (Tiffany Tompkins/Bradenton Herald via AP)
((Tiffany Tompkins / “Bradenton Herald” via AP))

DeSantis issued an evacuation order on Saturday, requiring evacuation within half a mile of the factory. So far, the evacuation order has led to the evacuation of 316 houses.

The state is working with the Red Cross to provide shelter and resources for displaced families, many of whom live in local hotels.

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DeSantis urged anyone seeking asylum to contact Manatee County authorities.

The authorities began to control emissions on March 31 to prevent leakage and subsequent flooding. DeSantis claims to have tested and monitored the water, and that the water currently meets the standards for dissolved oxygen, salinity and pH.

The state has also introduced additional equipment to redouble its efforts to pour more water from the reservoir into the surrounding waterways.

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The Florida National Guard is airdropping airdrop pumps, which will be installed on the factory chimney to speed up the pumping process. Currently, the pump uses 10 vacuum trucks in addition to the 20 current pumps.

Disantis also said that the state will be under the responsibility of HRK Holdings, which managed its site before the plant ceased production in 2001, and that the company will be responsible for any losses caused by violations.

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DeSantis said: “Our administrative department is committed to the full implementation of damages to state resources and requires HRK to be responsible for this incident.” “This is unacceptable, and it is not something we will allow to continue.”

Updates are available on the Protecting Florida Together website.


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