Tampa Bay's rainfall could force another Piney Point wastewater dump
More polluted water from the old Piney Point phosphate plant could be dumped into Tampa Bay if our heavy rainfall continues. The clock is ticking.
State of play: We've had 23 inches of rain since June, which added about 170 million gallons of water to the same polluted retaining pond that was drained earlier this year to prevent a massive leak.
- The pond can only hold about 50 million more gallons of water before another devastating spill.
- Flashback: The state approved the release of 215 million gallons of contaminated water into Tampa Bay earlier this year to prevent a giant leak that might’ve flooded neighborhoods.
Why it matters: Scientists suspect that the release of Piney Point's nutrient-rich wastewater may have contributed to this summer’s red tide, which has caused remarkable fish kills around Pinellas County.
What's next: The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has asked a judge for an emergency hearing to appoint another operator to take control of the site, the Bradenton Herald reports.
- The current owner — HRK Holdings — is "incapable" of lawfully operating the facility, the state's legal filing says.
- The state believes "irreparable harm is likely to occur" if HRK continues to try to manage the environmental disaster.
The bottom line: "The potential for overtopping of the compartments into the surrounding areas ... poses an imminent threat to public health and safety, and the environment," the DEP said in a press release.
More Tampa Bay stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Tampa Bay.