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Florida Wastewater Pond Collapse Could Result in 20-ft.-high Floodwaters

Posted on 4/6/2021 by Lauren Scott

Update 4/6: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released new data showing a diminished risk for an uncontrolled breach of water from Piney Point. The local evacuation order has been lifted. Residents and local businesses near Piney Point are asked to return home. Although some roadways have opened to thru traffic, Buckeye Rd. is closed until further notice. 

Original article text:
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued an emergency order on Saturday, April 3 for Manatee County, where a leak was discovered at a wastewater reservoir. State officials estimate over 300 homes could be under as much as 20 feet of water should the reservoir collapse.

The 77-acre wastewater pond is at the site of a previous phosphate plant at Piney Point. Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has said that the pond is primarily saltwater mixed with wastewater and stormwater. According to the Agency, it has elevated levels of phosphorous and nitrogen and is acidic, but not likely to be toxic.

On March 26, State officials noticed the pond began leaking towards Tampa Bay via Piney Point Creek and began controlled discharges into nearby Port Manatee. This changed on Friday, April 2, when a portion of the reservoir’s containment wall had shifted, prompting emergency evacuations and escalated response measures. Officials believe the shift could be an indication that the wall may collapse at any time.

As of April 3, Florida DEP has successfully discharged at least 53 million gallons of wastewater at a rate of about 22,000 gallons per minute.

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Tags: florida, hazardous waste management, RCRA, wastewater

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