Residents and businesses getting back to normal following Piney Point breach in Manatee County

Piney Point evacuees return

PALMETTO, Fla. (WWSB) - Yoko Willis is happy to be back home. A breach and contaminated water leak at Piney Point in Manatee County forcing the evacuation of many residents nearby. Willis is one of those people who had to evacuate to a hotel.

“We heard the news, then our whole neighborhood came out, and pretty soon they said we had to leave,” said Willis.

Homeowners weren’t the only ones impacted. Businesses like Popi’s Place on U.S. 41 in Palmetto had to temporarily close the last few days because the roadway was shut down. The road reopened on Tuesday, and the restaurant will reopen on Thursday.

“It is a big loss financially, we came off a tough year with COVID,” said Jennifer Ameres, co-owner of Popi’s Place. “Just when you start turning that corner, we’re headed into our main season time right now and we rely on that money to carry us through the summer when it does slow down.”

There were some residents who decided it was best to stay put despite the evacuation orders.

“We decided to not evacuate because it didn’t seem like we’re really in danger and the authorities never blocked off our neighborhood,” said Krystal Elwing, a Palmetto resident who lives near Piney Point. “We’re at the very edge of the evacuation zone.”

Officials say this breach at Piney Point is now under control, but for people who live and work around that part of Manatee County, it’s still very concerning.

“We’re really hoping that this does get corrected and taken care of, so we don’t have to evacuate again,” said Ameres.

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