Amid wastewater overflow threat, Florida officials urge residents to heed evacuation orders

MIAMI GARDENS FLORIDA- JANUARY 06 Florida Governor Ron De Santis speaks during a press conference about the opening of a COVID-19 vaccination site at the Hard Rock Stadium

County officials say well water remains unaffected and there is no threat to Lake Manatee, the area's primary source of drinking water.

Engineers said the structure collapse could happen any time, which would flood the area - and Tampa Bay itself - with water that contains phosphorus and nitrogen from the phosphate plant.

Parts of US-41 have also been closed due to the breach. That discovery escalated the response and prompted the first evacuations and a declaration of a state of emergency on Saturday.

It could take between 10 to 12 days for the situation to stabilize, Manatee County Administrator Scott Hopes said Saturday. "It is slightly acidic, but not at a level that is expected to be a concern".

Hopes, the county administrator, said Sunday that with new state resources, crews will be almost doubling the amount of water being pumped out of the pond and taken to Port Manatee.

A new expanded emergency evacuation order was sent out to an area around Piney Point, the former phosphate mine.

A significant leak at a large pond of wastewater threatened to flood roads and burst a system that stores polluted waters.

"Water quality issues that are flowing from this, for us, is less than the risk of everyone's health and safety, particularly folks who may live in the area", DeSantis noted. Now about 22,000 gallons of water are being discharged per minute, and Hopes said he expects the risk of collapse to decrease by Tuesday.

Bradenton Fla. Florida Gov. Ron De Santis declared a state of emergency Saturday after a significant leak at a large pond of was
Radioactive wastewater leak prompts evacuation in Florida

"The radiologicals are still below surface water discharge standards".

A worst-case scenario could see a 20-foot wall of polluted water emerge from the leaking site, the Bradenton Herald reported.

The pond at the abandoned phosphate mine sits in a stack of phosphogypsum, a radioactive waste product from fertilizer manufacturing.

By leaking into Tampa Bay, which has already occurred and will increase with a full collapse, the excess nutrients could cause algal blooms, which lead to red tide, environmentalists warn.

"We are closely monitoring the ongoing situation and are in close communication with Governor DeSantis' office, as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection", she said in an email. "The State is committed to holding HRK and all involved parties accountable".

"The pond is basically salt water".

"This is my community, too", Barath said.

Hopes said the plan is not to fix the damaged reservoir liner.

‘Thrown back into winter’ - freezing weather creeping in over bank holiday weekend
Highest temperatures of four to eight degrees will drop on Monday night to between minus two and two degrees once again. Light rain or drizzle will develop in the northwest during the afternoon and spread southwards through the evening.

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