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Tuesday's Axios Tampa Bay stories

Manatee County lifts evacuation order near Piney Point leak

Port Manatee, where water from the containment pond at the old Piney Point phosophate plant is being released into Tampa Bay. Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios

Officials on Tuesday reopened roads and lifted the evacuation order for residents and businesses near the old Piney Point phosphate plant as they continued to pump nutrient-rich water into Tampa Bay at Port Manatee to relieve pressure on the leak and look for ways to seal it.

What's new: Manatee County commission chairwoman Vanessa Baugh said that the commission approved a nearby injection well to funnel treated water from the leak into the deep earth instead of Tampa Bay, and assured local residents that their drinking water is safe.

Tampa Bay leads the way on blockchain

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Whether you understand the world of cryptocurrency and are already using it — or you’ve been living under a rock and trying to avoid it (like us) — there’s one thing you need to know: Tampa Bay is where its future is being built.

What's happening: Like the garage Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak built the first Apple computers in, Tampa has become the hub for startups centered around blockchain.

Downtown Tampa really wants a Target

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Data: Tampa Downtown Partnership; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Downtown Tampa residents and workers want a Target, according to a recent survey by the Tampa Downtown Partnership.

  • Asked what big-box retailer they craved, 40% said Target. It was trailed by Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Publix, Costco, Walmart and Aldi — none of which cracked 5%.
  • Of note: 33% said they didn't want any big-box store at all.

This story first appeared in the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

Piney Point disaster averted for now, seepage continues

A satallite image of the holding ponds at Piney Point near Palmetto. Credit: Google Maps satellite image

Emergency management officials working around the clock appear to have once again postponed a catastrophic environmental disaster at the old Piney Point phosphate plant where a huge man-made pond holding contaminated water is threatening to collapse.

Driving the news: Starting last week, a series of leaks developed in the walls of the abandoned phosphate production site’s largest pond, which originally contained about 480 million gallons of both saltwater — from dredging in the bay — and process water, the contaminated water from fertilizer production.