MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - Following an announcement at an earlier news conference stating that a potential second breach had been located in the gypsum stacks at Piney Point, a deeper look from engineers show those fears were unfounded.
Public Safety Director Jacob Saur said the Army Corps of Engineers are on scene assessing the damage by drone. Twenty-six pumps and 10 vacuum trucks have been brought on-site and they’re all expected to be put in place and working by the end of the day. The EPA and Florida Department of Environmental Protection will also coordinate on-site.
The DEP said the reports of the second area of actual seepage from the east wall of the 77-acre reservoir were not accurate.
A technical working group, including engineers and dam safety specialists from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Division of Emergency Management, the Southwest Florida Water Management District, the Army Corps of Engineers, and additional third-party engineers, were on-site today evaluating conditions and determined the site was safe to continue work.
At a news conference at the Manatee County Emergency Operations Center, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Bradenton, said he wanted “the best and the brightest on the ground,” to deal with this situation.
Buchanan said he was dedicated to a permanent solution to the problem and not just a simple patch. He also acknowledged that he knew the environmental dangers of dumping the water into the bay.
According to Manatee County Port Authority Chairman Reggie Bellamy, the port is operating normally.
This story is developing and ABC7 will update as more information is received.