Environmentalists, residents still concerned as Piney Point injection well ready for operation

Piney Point injection well ready for operation.
Piney Point injection well ready for operation.(WWSB)
Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 10:07 PM EDT
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PALMETTO, Fla. (WWSB) - A major milestone in one of the largest environmental stories to hit the Suncoast has been reached: The deep injection well for Piney Point is installed and ready for operation.

“Very concerned about the injection well. I know they had to do something about it,” said Martha Glenn, a longtime resident who lives down the road from the former fertilizer processing plant.

Glenn says the environmental concerns have always been there for her and her neighbors, especially following the breach two years ago and the dumping of more than 200 million gallons of wastewater into Tampa Bay. She doesn’t believe the injection well is the best long-term solution.

“I don’t think this is the end of it, I really don’t and it might be the end of what we hear in my lifetime, but I’m really concerned about the next generation,” Glenn said.

Manatee County officials declined to speak to ABC7 Wednesday.

Some residents ABC7 spoke with say they are happy to hear things are moving along to finally close the facillity. Manatee County officials say the injection well took about a year to prepare. Millions of gallons of pretreated contaminated water will soon be pumped 3,300 feet underground, below the drinking water aquifer.

Environmentalists say they are worried about this, but they are glad to see something being done.

“I believe under the circumstances, this is probably the best solution for this particular project,” said Rusty Chinnis, Board Chair of Suncoast Waterkeeper. “And only because we’ve kicked the can so far down the road, we’ve run out of roads and there’s really no other options.”

“I believe we’re OK as it is right now, but it certainly is a giant ticking time bomb.”

Officials insist the deep injection well process is safe. Final closure of the site is expected sometime next year.

In a news release issued Tuesday evening, Manatee County said the well will actually begin pumping water underground next week. At this time, it’s not known how long the process will take. More information on Piney Point can be found here www.pineypointreceivership.com.