‘Imminent’ Collapse of Wastewater Reservoir in Florida Forces Evacuations – by Bryan Pietsch and Marie Fazio (New York Times – April 3, 2021)


A reservoir in Florida that holds nearly 400 million gallons of wastewater from a former phosphate mine was leaking on Saturday, prompting hundreds of evacuations, the authorities said.

Crews were “doing their best to control the outflow” of contaminated water into a creek at Piney Point in Florida, the site of a former phosphate mine that is south of Tampa, said Vanessa Baugh, the chairwoman of the Manatee County Commission.

The spillage was an “imminent hazard” that posed “an immediate and substantial danger to human health, safety, welfare and the environment,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis, who issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency.

An initial leak in the 79-acre reservoir, which is a part of a system of ponds, was reported on March 26 but the situation deteriorated in recent days.

A sudden, uncontrolled breach could flood homes in the area and upend stacks of phosphogypsum, a waste product of phosphate mining, that hold the ponds.

For the rest of this article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/03/us/piney-point-phospate-plant-state-of-emergency.html