4.5 million gallons of rainwater moved from Piney Point into Tampa Bay

Stormwater from Piney Point to be discharged into Tampa Bay.
Stormwater from Piney Point to be discharged into Tampa Bay.(WWSB)
Published: Aug. 14, 2022 at 1:10 PM EDT

PALMETTO, Fla. (WWSB) - The process for dumping 4.5 million gallons of rainwater from the Piney Point facility into Tampa Bay has begun.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection sent an recent email update, explaining that moving the water accumulated during the rainy season is part of the larger process to close the former fertilizer plant for good.

Piney Point made headlines in April 2021 when 215 million gallons of wastewater were pumped from the facility into Port Manatee. The polluted water, according to members of Suncoast Waterkeeper, played a major role in exacerbating the red tide bloom months later.

In July, when plans were made to move the rainwater, crews on site explained the stormwater filling one of the gypstacks is not contaminated and is tested routinely.

The DEP also noted the rainwater that will be moved into Port Manatee has not touched the ponded process water, which is held in a separate container, and the water had low nitrogen levels when it was tested.

However, environmentalists say they are not convinced. Members of Suncoast Waterkeeper said they’re concerned more discharges like these could do more damage over time.

Moving the rainwater into Port Manatee, according to the DEP, should take about six days. That rainwater will be monitored, ensuring the discharges meet water quality requirements.

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