Authorities are working around the clock to contain the dangerous leak, which could contaminate an agricultural area in a city near Miami. More than 300 homes were evacuated.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency Saturday in the city of Tampa, about 450 kilometers northwest of Miami, prominently in a large sewer pond that threatened flooding roads. There is a bounce. Agricultural area
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Saturday a state of emergency in the city of Tampa, about 450 km northwest of Miami, due to a notable spill in a large sewerage pond that warns to flood roads—and breaking a contaminated water storage system on an agricultural area and coastal.
What we see now is to stop the real catastrophic flood situation and respond if necessary," DeSantis told a news conference on Sunday after visiting the area by helicopter.
The governor explained that emergency workers, supported by the Florida National Guard, were pumping about 33 million gallons a day (nearly 125,000 cubic meters) of wastewater from a reservoir that is increasingly leaking into its plastic lining. According to engineers, he said at the site. A controlled discharge was necessary to avoid catastrophic failure.
He said wastewater reaches the level of water quality for seawater," except for phosphorus and nitrogen.
Seaweed gets very fast in these factors, and environmental groups fear that the release of thousands of liters of these rich oceans into the sea could lead to a deadly "red wave" or algae eruption, ending with the fish and aquatic life in addition to harming tourism.
The pond's plastic lining, which contains more than a million cubic meters of wastewater from dredging or rainwater, began to leak several days ago.
A collapse of the reservoir could also cause phosphorous gypsum stored near the area to mix with the water and contaminate the local ecosystem.
This substance, a residue from fertilizer production, is considered radioactive since it contains isotopes such as radon and toxic heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, and mercury.
Specialists and operators perform a substance that controls the storage of waste liquids at a phosphate processing plant in West Florida, which has been closed since 2001 due to holes and leaks, to prevent it from breaking down and causing a disaster.
Florida authorities ordered the eviction of more than 300 homes. They closed a highway within a 1-mile radius near the pond in the Tampa Bay area north of Bradenton on Saturday.
Residents living near the Piney Point Reserve, owned by HRK Holdings, received a text message warning them to leave the area immediately as it was "nearing its end. Authorities extended the eviction zone hours later to add more homes. However, he said they had no plans to open shelters.
On Friday, April 2, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection discovered several cracks in the wall of one of the 33-hectare, eight-meter-deep ponds, which already contained a substantial leakage, according to information provided by Manatee County officials.
From Friday night to Saturday, authorities brought stones and materials to drill holes in the pond. Still, the attempt to keep the contents failed.
According to local media, the reservoir includes 2,600 to 3,000 million liters of water between phosphates, seawater, and rainwater extracted during the drainage of a nearby port for processing. What is the cause of environmental group alarms?
The company that holds the plant is active in the unloading process. According to Spectrum News, about 83,200 liters per minute of the pond is being removed from the pond. Emptying the entire pond would take 10-12 days. Others are working on a roadmap to control the flow of the pond in Tampa Bay.
With the DeSantis state of emergency declaration, more resources are allocated for pumps and cranes in the area. The owner, HRK Holdings, has not yet responded to a request for comment on the matter.
DeSantis indicated that the company must be held accountable for what happened: "This is not acceptable, and it is not something that we are going to authorize to continue."
The pond where the leak was discovered is located in the old Piney Point phosphate mine, located on a pile of phosphogypsum, a waste derived from the manufacture of fertilizers and radioactive. Phosphogypsum generally includes minimal quantities of radon and uranium, and stored batteries can also contain large amounts of collections of radon gas.
According to the Florida Department of the Environment, this is mildly acidic water with phosphorus, ammonia, and nitrogen content, but not at a level that could be dangerous. We are not convinced it is toxic," an environmental spokesman told local media.
Manatee County Acting Administrator Scott Hopes stressed that the phosphate plant pond problem dates back "decades," and a "permanent solution" needs to be found when the current emergency is resolved. Hopes said the models indicate that if the raft breaks entirely in less than an hour, it will produce the equivalent of a wall of 20 feet (6.1 meters) of water.
The environmental organization Sierra Club has been asking Americans for years to demand legislation from their congressmen to ban the deposits of the liquid "radioactive" waste that is produced by processing the rocks from which phosphates are extracted.
According to the Sierra Club, there are more than 70 of these pond-shaped "monstrosities" in the US that can measure a mile (1.6 km) wide by 200 feet (61 meters). Stop large and billions of tons of radioactive water from this process.
They are spread across Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. There have been "numerous documented cases of groundwater contamination, sinkholes, and leaks" from these deposits of waste.