Florida governor declares state of emergency amid fears of reservoir collapse

Remigio Civitarese
Aprile 5, 2021

As of Sunday, it held about 300 million gallons.

Hundreds of families were ordered to evacuate Saturday after officials warned that Piney Point Reservoir, about 40 miles south of Tampa, could flood homes with 15 to 20 feet of water if it collapses.

Hundreds of homes have been evacuated in Florida amid fears that a reservoir is on the point of collapse.

Emergency evacuation notices were released Friday evening, and locals living within a 1 mile radius have been asked to evacuate.

Officials tried to plug the hole in the 8m deep pond with rocks and other material, but were unsuccessful.

County officials say well water remains unaffected and there is no threat to Lake Manatee, the area's primary source of drinking water. Officials said the water is slightly acidic but not to a concerning or toxic level.

A significant leak at a large pond of wastewater threatened to flood roads and burst a system that stores polluted waters. Late last week, a substantial leak that was discovered intensified the response and prompted the first evacuations, as well as a declaration of a state of emergency over the weekend.

"This could have been resolved over two decades ago", Hopes said.

"So if you are in an evacuation area and you have not heeded that, you need to think twice and follow the orders", said Hopes at a news conference with DeSantis.

Workers at the pond have tried to lessen the potential wall of destruction by pumping out the waste water.

Hopes said he could not rule out that a full breach could also destabilise the walls of the other ponds at the Piney Point site.

The water being discharged is mostly seawater from the Port Manatee dredge project, process water and storm water, officials said.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a coordinator on the scene to work with emergency management and provide support as necessary, said EPA spokeswoman Brandi Jenkins. "So public health and safety is the top priority, and obviously, we want to protect in a way that minimizes any of the environmental impacts".

The owner, HRK Holdings, did not respond to a request for comment on Saturday.

Phosphogypsum is a byproduct of fertilizer production and is considered weakly radioactive as it contains naturally occurring isotopes such as radon. State authorities say the water in the breached pond is not radioactive.

"For more than 50 years, this central Florida mining operation has caused numerous human health and environmental disasters and incidents", she wrote DeSantis in a letter about the Piney Point plant, which was originally constructed by Borden Chemical Company in 1966.

Altre relazioniGrafFiotech

Discuti questo articolo

Segui i nostri GIORNALE