‘It’s a heck of a lot of stuff:’ Manatee officials say they are working around the clock on leaking gypsum stack

‘It’s a heck of a lot of stuff:’ Manatee officials say they are working around the clock on leaking gypsum stack
Scott Hopes (Source: WWSB)

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.

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