PALMETTO, Fla. (WWSB) - Manatee County Commissioner James Satcher has an added interest in Piney Point. It lies in his district.
“I don’t think the rain is an issue at all,” said Satcher. “What is an issue is what’s happened for years before.”
Satcher believes some of the wet weather we’ve experienced the last few days and the additional rain to come won’t be a problem at the site of the recent contaminated water leak.
“That pond was well over 400 million gallons and now it’s right around 200,” said Satcher. “So there’s space at this point to keep the process polluted water.”
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection says crews on site are prepared to manage any increase in stormwater and there are ponds on site built to handle all amounts of rain heading their way. Environmentalists hope the DEP is right, but they still worry about the effects of heavy rains.
“I don’t know how we can’t have concerns based on the prior performance of this stack,” said Rusty Chinnis, a board member with Suncoast Waterkeeper. “The question is, could this amount of water increase it enough that it would compromise the tear they already fixed or create another breach.”
Just recently, 0.6 inches of rain produced 4 million gallons of additional water at the site. Manatee County officials remain confident that the DEP has everything under control.
“We don’t anticipate any additional problems; obviously what happened at the breach was a major ordeal,” said Satcher. “But we faced it head-on and this is going to be the last chapter.”
The DEP says they are working closely with the state’s emergency management team to continue to monitor the weather.