Crews raced to prevent the uncontrolled release of millions of gallons of wastewater from a breach in the storage pond of an old phosphate plant in Florida while investigating a potential second leak in the reservoir.
Early Monday morning, an infrared drone identified the second possible breach, prompting a team of federal and state engineers to head to the Manatee County site for further analysis, said Jacob Saur, director of public safety for the county, at a news conference. Officials are trying to avert a full-scale breach that could release a 20-foot wall of wastewater and imperil nearby homes and businesses.
More than 300 homes near the reservoir, which is south of Tampa, are under evacuation orders. Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency and cited fears over the weekend of “a real catastrophic flood situation.”
Manatee County officials said between 2 million and 3 million gallons a day were leaking out of a breach in the 79-acre pond at the now-closed Piney Point phosphate plant. On Sunday, the Florida National Guard delivered two pumps that are being used to pump the water into Tampa Bay, thereby lowering the level so that crews can repair the leak.
Mr. DeSantis said over the weekend that the leaking water isn’t radioactive wastewater. He said it was a mix of old water from fertilizer production, storm water runoff and saltwater from a dredging project.
Source: WSJ – US News