A series of increasingly serious incidents in an 800 million gallon storage pond at the Piney Point Industrial Base prompted the evacuations of residents about a mile from the factory in Manatee County tonight.
- According to a report in the Bradenton Herald, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Highway Patrol have closed the road in Palmetto’s U.S. Evacuation Zone 41 and have appealed to the Red Cross for assistance.
Newest: The Acting Chief Executive of Manatee County, Scott Hopes, told reporters at a press conference around 9:20 in the evening.
- Hops said that the water discharged into Tampa Bay is acidic and ammonia gas, and the rate of discharge into Tampa Bay is 22,000 gallons per minute, or 32 million gallons per day, but that the pool supports wild animals such as snooker and ducks. biological.
- When asked if it was contaminated, Hopps said: “I don̵
- For a long time, the property has been considered “one of the greatest environmental threats in Florida history.”
background: This ancient phosphate factory operated from the 1960s to 2001, with piles of phosphogypsum (a by-product of fertilizer production) and large amounts of sewage. As Selene reported on Wednesday:
- A leak was discovered in the 77-acre craft pond last week.
- The Florida Department of Environmental Protection stated that draining water is the only way to prevent “containment failure and catastrophic release.”
Big picture: The scene manager Jeff Barath’s voice trembled, and when he talked to the county commissioner about the situation, he seemed to be hitting back tears.
- He told the committee: “Tampa Bay may be affected.”
What are they talking about: USF Earth Science Professor Matthew Pasek initially told Axios that releasing a small amount of phosphate-contaminated water in the bay may not be so bad, but warns that we are now focusing on irreversible damage.
- Pasek said: “Algae blooms and kill fish is the most likely thing.” “This will also affect the entire food chain. This is unlikely to cause human damage, but there will be a very smelly bay for a while. .”
- A state environmental spokesperson said: “The water is acidic, but it is not at the level of concern, and it is not toxic,” according to the Tampa Bay Times.
- DEP said in a statement, “committed to fully enforce any damage to our state’s resources and controlling rights [property owner HRK Holdings] Responsible for this incident. “
This story first appeared in Axios Tampa Bay The newsletter is designed to help readers understand the most important news in their backyard faster and smarter.