SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - State environmental officials continue to work on cleaning the water from the leaking Piney Point phosphate facility, officials said Wednesday.
According to the latest update from The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s web page dedicated to Piney Point, the state is working with technology companies to reduce the amount of nutrients and chemicals in the water being discharged into Tampa Bay through Port Manatee.
Nutrients can cause algal blooms that can reduce light and oxygen in the bay, which can kill fish and aquatic plants.
The DEP also says recent water testing shows the discharged wastewater is attaining marine water quality standards; however, sampling from areas surrounding the active discharge point in Port Manatee shows elevated levels of phosphorus.
Other key updates from Wednesday include:
- Approximately 258 million gallons remain in the NGS-South compartment.
- More than 38 million gallons per day are being removed from the NGS-South compartment through pumps and other water management activities.
- Controlled discharges of mixed saltwater from NGS-South compartment to Port Manatee are ongoing to reduce the water volume and pressure, and stabilize the system. To date, approximately 173 million gallons have been discharged to the port.
- The department is working to repair the one identified area where there is concentrated seepage from the east wall of the NGS-South compartment. The flow of the seepage has reduced and remains contained onsite in the facility’s lined stormwater management system.
- DEP’s interactive water quality dashboard details sampling locations and corresponding results to evaluate any environmental impacts to Tampa Bay from the Piney Point discharges. The most recent results show sampling locations in Tampa Bay are attaining marine water quality standards; however, sampling from areas surrounding the active discharge point in Port Manatee shows elevated levels of phosphorus.
- Yesterday, Manatee County Emergency Management reopened U.S. Highway 41 to traffic and lifted the local evacuation order enabling local residents and businesses to return home safely.
Residents can find the latest information on the status of the site and response activities at ProtectingFloridaTogether.gov/PineyPointUpdate.
For information on public safety and evacuation guidance in this area, please visit MyManatee.org.