MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. – Residents living near the area of Piney Point in Manatee County received emergency evacuation alerts on Friday due to an “imminent uncontrolled release of wastewater.”
The uncontrolled release is near the intersection of Buckeye Road and Bud Rhoden Road, affecting 15 to 20 residences.
“We believe that there is enough imminent threat from the stack that those homes south of the stack and those businesses could be affected through flooding if that, if those conditions were to worsen,” said Manatee County Director of Public Safety Jacob Surr. “Working with the Department of Environmental Protection and the state as well as HRK holdings and we’ve been working with the county administration around the clock on this matter. We just feel like there’s enough imminent threat that we needed to alert and evacuate a certain area of these residences in case that were to worsen.”
During a press conference Friday, emergency officials said their mitigation efforts seem to be working to stop a full breach, but they said the situation was a ‘dynamic’ situation and continued to be constantly changing.
A local state of emergency was declared Thursday evening by Manatee County commissioners due to a liner tear at the former phosphate plant stack on Piney Point.
The evacuation order covers a half-mile radius south and a mile north of the abandoned Piney Point fertilizer plant wastewater holding reservoir, which could potentially dump hundreds of millions of gallons of wastewater on the surrounding neighborhoods
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection initiated an emergency controlled release of up to 480 million gallons of industrial wastewater from the stack after the discovery of a leak last week.
Around 4 PM on Friday, Florida EPA released a statement saying, “a breakout of seepage in the east wall of the NGS South containment area was observed.”
“The water meets water quality standards for marine waters with the exception of pH, total phosphorus, total nitrogen and total ammonia nitrogen. It is slightly acidic, but not at a level that is expected to be a concern, nor is it expected to be toxic,” the DEP statement added.
This is a developing story, we will update this as details are released.