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Environment and Science

Piney Point Situation Still Critical, But Easing

Photo: Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida Channel
Photo: Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida Channel

Hundreds of homes have been evacuated near a leaking phosphate wastewater pond that is threatening to pour into Tampa Bay. Officials say the situation is still critical, but improving.

Engineers were busy Sunday pumping out 33 million gallons a day from the stricken Piney Point plant, located in Manatee County, just south of the Hillsborough County line. The 79-acre pond had been lowered to about 300 million gallons, reducing pressure on its earthen walls.

Governor Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency and directed National Guard troops to fly in pumps to siphon more water.

“What we’re looking at now is trying to prevent and respond to, if need be, a real catastrophic flood situation.”

Although the threat of a rupture seems to be easing, one official said if the dike breaks, one model shows it sending a wall of water as high as twenty feet into the surrounding area.

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