MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - During a press conference Sunday morning, Gov. Ron DeSantis assured the public that additional resources were coming to Manatee County to help control the breach at the former phosphate plant at Piney Point.
The governor took an aerial tour over the site and said he had been filled in on the pumping process.
DeSantis said the controlled discharges of the water have been going on since the March 30, and on-site engineers said they were necessary to prevent catastrophe. Currently, water is being pumped out at a rate of 33 million gallons a day. The controlled discharge that is going into Port Manatee is not radioactive, but mainly full of saltwater with nutrients from legacy water and rainwater.
If the stacks were to suffer a major breach, 340 million gallons of water could release and cause catastrophic flooding. This, DeSantis said, explains the urgency of speeding the controlled release.
“We have to prepare that this is something where you could see further degradation,” he explained.
Manatee County Administrator Scott Hopes added that the flooding from a collapse could cause significant and dangerous floods in the form of a 20-foot wave of water. Both DeSantis and Hopes pointed the finger at HRK Holdings, the group responsible for the site, for the failure that has been a potential issue for decades.
“This could have been fixed two decades ago,” Hopes said.