Live Updates: The state says only one area has been compromised from Piney Point Reservoir


Florida state and local leaders fear a “imminent” collapse of the storage yard at the former Penny Point phosphate processing plant in Manatee County.

Palmetto, Florida –

  • A second possible leak has been investigated; The state said late on Monday afternoon that there was only one designated district
  • The Clearwater Marine Aquarium warns that the situation could be the start of an environmental tragedy for manatees in the Tampa Bay area.
  • Pumps are added to double the flow rate of waste water from the Bainy Point.
  • Starting Monday, school buses will no longer stop within the Piney Point evacuation zone, according to school leaders.
  • People who live in Manatee County You can visit this link To see if they were affected by the current evacuation area near Piney Point Reservoir.
  • A local state of emergency has been declared in Manatee County and parts of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.

Florida state and local leaders fear a “imminent” collapse of the storage yard at the former Penny Point phosphate processing plant in Manatee County.

People who live and work in the area are required to go out and stay away.

In addition to the “large spill” at the bottom of the pond containing millions of gallons of water, several small gaps have recently been found. The pool contains a mixture of treated water, salt water from the Port Manatee dredge project, rainwater and rainwater runoff.

Work crews relieve pressure on the pool by firing around 22,000 gallons per minute.

10 Tampa Bay offers ongoing coverage this week – scroll down for the latest updates:

10:18 PM, April 5: Florida Commissioner for Agriculture Nikki Fred, the state’s highest-ranking Democrat, plans to hold a press conference at 12:45 p.m. Tuesday at the Manatee County Public Safety Building.

Earlier, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called a meeting of the Florida Cabinet to address the emergency, Penny Point.

7:34 PM, April 5: Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, and Senator Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, announced that the Senate will consider adjusting the budget to fund the cleanup and shutdown of Piney Point, according to a press release.

It will be considered on Wednesday, April 7.

The state estimates it will cost $ 200 million to fully clean up and restore the state, the statement said. The funding may be sourced from funds received by the US bailout, the latest COVID-19 stimulus package.

“This has been a disaster waiting to happen for a long time,” Simpson said in a statement. “I have pledged to Senator Boyd that the Senate will advocate the use of federal funding to ensure a full and complete cleanup and restoration.” “We don’t want to talk about this problem again after 5, 10 or 20 years. This is exactly the kind of long-standing infrastructure problem that we need to address with the infrequent federal money that our state will get from the US bailout.”

Simpson previously told 10 investigators that the state expects the owner of the HRK Holdings site to ultimately pay taxpayers’ costs for this “environmental tragedy.”

5:08 PM, April 5: There is only one “designated area where there is a concentrated leak from the East Wall” at the Penny Point Reservoir site, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Officials earlier said they were monitoring a possible second leak. The state declared that this is not the case. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection also said in its update that the uncontrolled discharge to Pine Point Creek has stopped.

26 pumps have been deployed to draw 35 million gallons of water daily.

3:45 PM, April 5: Clearwater Marine Aquarium is warning that the fallout from putting wastewater at a former phosphate treatment plant is likely to affect Florida manatees.

“This polluted water is discharged south of the Tico Power Station which serves as a major warm water site for the manatee,” wrote James Powell, Executive Director of the Clearwater Aquarium Research Institute, James Powell. Drainage of this size can have a major effect on the kelp near Piney Point they use for feeding. At this point, we don’t know what the result will be, but it could cause the weeds to die or to rise in toxicity levels that could be harmful to the manatee. The consequences of this violation are likely to last for decades. “

Related: The wastewater flowing from Bainy Point could harm the manatees in the Tampa Bay area

This year, manatee mortality in the state has tripled from the five-year average. The aquarium says loss of seaweed habitat is a major factor in mortality.

Powell warns that the situation in Manatee County could be the start of an environmental tragedy in Tampa Bay.

3:45 PM, April 5: Manatee County Department of Public Safety says the county has helped transport 102 people who were in the evacuation zone and take them to area hotels.

3pm, April 5: Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fred says she called an emergency cabinet meeting in Florida over the emergency at the former phosphate processing plant.

“This is a comprehensive deck placement to protect life, property and our water resources,” she wrote.

2:50 PM April 5: Officials say they are on their way to double the removal of sewage that threatens the “imminent” collapse of the storage pond.

By the end of Monday, about 20 more pumps will be added to the equipment batch that move sewage from the leak site, according to county leaders.

“You can imagine that if we go from 35 million gallons per day to 100 million gallons per day or more, and pull it out – you can see how in probably 48 hours, if all these flows continue, we will be in,” said District Director Dr. Scott Hobbs: We face the complete risk of this violation anymore. “

Related: Pumps that are added to dual rate wastewater flow from the former phosphate plant into Tampa Bay

Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson told 10 investigators it could cost the state between $ 100 million and $ 200 million to clean up the former Penny Point phosphate processing plant in Manatee County.

The Pasco County Republican has said it has been a “concern” for many years and is interested in getting estimates so the state can allocate funding “to fully stabilize it from now on.”

Simpson told 10 Investigates that the state expects site owner HRK Holdings to ultimately pay taxpayers’ costs for this “environmental tragedy.”

He said he expects the state may have to file a lawsuit to recover the cost of cleaning at Piney Point.

“Usually you don’t get to a potential disaster without a few wrong steps,” Simpson said.

12:54 PM, April 5: Manatee County Public Safety Director Jacob Sauer says an infrared drone “has identified a signature that could indicate a second breach” in the Pine Point area at around 2am.

The Army Corps of Engineers and new DEP engineers are back on site and re-evaluating this design. The county says it will provide more details once the assessment is complete.

12:18 PM, April 5: What would a day of rain do to a pierced Piney Point tank? Our meteorologists made the calculations.

The reservoir in question covers an area of ​​79 acres. When meteorologists talk about an inch of rain, it reflects how it was recorded in the rain gauge.

That inch of rain equals 27,154 gallons of water over one acre. If you multiply this number by 79 (the area of ​​the tank) then the calculation reveals that the tank can see about 2.15 million gallons of water added.

Related: Here’s what another inch of rain could mean for a Piney Point Reservoir

10:18 am april 5: Rep. Vern Buchanan will share an update on ongoing efforts to prevent the imminent collapse of Piney Point’s hold.

8:34 AM April 5th: Manate County Call Center 311 has resumed receiving calls from those in the evacuation area.

6:07 AM April 5: 10 Tampa Bay Brightside reporter Thuy Lan Nguyen says that with the additional equipment delivered to the site, the goal is to dry out the tank in four days.

5 a.m. April 5: Effective Monday, school buses will not stop within the Piney Point evacuation area. School leaders announced the weekend.

If you have questions, school leaders ask you to call the SDMC Transportation Department at 941-782-1287.

You can find a list of affected methods Here.

Related: Manatee County Schools halt bus transfers within the Piney Point evacuation area

7:00 pm, April 4: The Manatee County Sheriff’s office says it is moving 345 inmates from Manatee County Jail to an “unknown location” because of the breach in the Piney Point reservoir. The prison falls within the mandatory evacuation zone

A spokesman for the sheriff’s office said the remaining 721 inmates in the prison would be moved to the upper floor of the facility as a precaution. The sheriff’s office says it does not disclose the inmates ’whereabouts due to” security purposes. ”

In a “worst case scenario,” the agency said, a complete, uncontrolled breach of the tank would affect the prison, about a foot of water.

5:30 pm April 4: Local leaders said the 311 call center in Manatee County was closed after calls slowed. It will reopen at 8 am on Monday.

Where is the evacuation zone?

The evacuation zone around the breached Penny Point Reservoir includes about 316 homes, according to Manatee County leaders.

On Saturday, the county expanded the US 41 lockdown a half mile west and one mile southwest of Moccasian-Wallow Road. It also expands south from Buckeye Road to Moccasin Wallow Road.

Moccasian Wallow Road will be closed at 38 East Avenue.

People who live in Manatee County You can visit this link To see if they were affected by the current evacuation area near Piney Point Reservoir.

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