MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - A situation that was bad to begin with is getting worse, Manatee County officials said during a press conference Saturday morning.
On his third day on the job, County Administrator Scott Hopes said that crews were working around the clock to repair a tear in a phosphogypsum stack, said that engineers realized quickly that the situation was escalating to a point in which collapse of toxic water was imminent.
Hopes said that people who had not yet evacuated needed to do so immediately. The evacuation zone stretches half a mile to the south and one mile to the north of Piney Point.
Crews had to attempted dirt and rocks to plug the hole but the attempt was unsuccessful and a collapse was deemed imminent.
22,000 gallons a minute are being pumped and more pumps are being sent by the state. Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency within the county.
When asked how much water could be released, Hopes said simply “It’s a heck of a lot of stuff.”
Manatee County officials will hold another press conference tomorrow.