Phosphate mine collapse ‘imminent’ as DeSantis issues state of emergency in Florida county – by Mark Young and Ryan Callihan (Miami Herald – April 21, 2021)

PALMETTO, Fla. — Less than a day after Manatee County issued an emergency evacuation order for nearby residents of the troubled Piney Point industrial site, public safety officials have announced new and immediate evacuations around the phosphate mine, declaring the collapse of the gypsum stack is “imminent.”

Several hours later, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a State of Emergency for the county. “Due to a possible breach of mixed saltwater from the south reservoir at the Piney Point facility, I have declared a State of Emergency for Manatee County to ensure resources are allocated for necessary response & recovery.”

The public safety alert told residents: “Evacuate the area NOW. Collapse of Piney Point Stack is imminent. Immediate evacuation of Chapman Road to Airport Road and US 41 to O’Neill Road. Leave area IMMEDIATELY.”

Sen. Rick Scott also announced that he his monitoring the situation, “and will work to secure any federal assistance deemed necessary by the state and local officials. All Manatee County residents should remain alert and follow state and local guidance.”

Saturday’s alert comes on the heels of an evacuation order issued on Friday after a breach was observed in the wall of a leaking pond containing 800 million gallons of water containing phosphorous and nitrogen from the old phosphate mining property.

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