State of Emergency Declared in Florida Due to Toxic Wastewater Reservoir Collapse Risk

Map locates the Piney Point facility pond that is leaking contaminated water

(Source: – Gov. DeSantis says crews this could become a ‘real catastrophic flood situation’

By: Norman Dotson Jr./BNC Digital – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency and ordered an evacuation for residents in Manatee County due to a risk of a possible toxic wastewater reservoir collapse.

Over the weekend, DeSantis said crews were working to prevent “a real catastrophic flood situation,” According to an NBC report.

Wastewater Reservoir Leak, Florida
This aerial photo taken from an airplane shows a reservoir near the old Piney Point phosphate mine, Saturday, April 3, 2021 in Bradenton, Fla. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency Saturday after a significant leak at a large pond of wastewater threatened to flood roads and burst a system that stores polluted waters. The pond where the leak was discovered is at the old Piney Point phosphate mine, sitting in a stack of phosphogypsum, a waste product from manufacturing fertilizer that is radioactive. (Tiffany Tompkins/The Bradenton Herald via AP)

According to a report from the Orlando Sentinel, Manatee County officials say the latest models show that a breach at the old phosphate plant reservoir has the potential to gush out 340 million gallons of water in a matter of minutes, risking a 20-foot-high wall of water.

Map locates the Piney Point facility pond that is leaking contaminated water

“The Florida Department of Environmental Protection says the water in the pond is primarily saltwater mixed with wastewater and stormwater,” the report continued. “It has elevated levels of phosphorous and nitrogen and is acidic, but not expected to be toxic,” the agency said.

RELATED: Mississippi’s largest city struggling from ongoing water crisis

A portion of the containment wall in the reservoir has shifted, leading officials to think a collapse could occur at any time, with roughly 22,000 gallons of water being discharged per minute.

Scott Hopes, a county administrator, said in the Sentinel’s report that looking at the updated information that the level of water leaking out has plateaued but adds that they’re not out of a critical area just yet.

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