Friday, 16 April, 2021

Florida works to avoid 'catastrophic' collapse of wastewater pond

MIAMI GARDENS FLORIDA- JANUARY 06 Florida Governor Ron De Santis speaks during a press conference about the opening of a COVID-19 vaccination site at the Hard Rock Stadium Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
Ginger Lawrence | 05 April, 2021, 02:03

The pond where the leak was discovered contains stacks of phosphogypsum, a radioactive byproduct from manufacturing fertilizer, according to the Associated Press.

He toured the scene by helicopter on Sunday morning and said at a press conference engineers were still attempting to plug breaches in the reservoir wall with rocks and other materials, and that other mitigation efforts included the controlled release of 35m gallons daily at Port Manatee.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Sunday headed for the site of a defunct phosphate plant south of Tampa, where a leak at a waste water reservoir forced the evacuation of hundreds of homes and threatened to flood the area and Tampa Bay with polluted water.

Authorities have closed off portions of the U.S. Highway 41 and ordered evacuations of 316 homes.

"We are talking about the potential of about 600 million gallons (2.3 billion liters) within a matter of seconds and minutes leaving that retention pool and going around the surrounding area", Hopes said. Pumping the entire pond would take 10 to 12 days.

By declaring a state of emergency, funds can be released to send more pumps and cranes to the area. The pond contains small amounts of naturally occurring radium and uranium. Instead, "we will be depleting the holding ponds of their water, and then we will be moving forward to a permanent solution into the future", he said.

Bradenton Fla. Florida Gov. Ron De Santis declared a state of emergency Saturday after a significant leak at a large pond of was
Florida Piney Point reservoir's 'imminent' overflow prompts evacuation order

At the Sunday press conference, Hopes conceded: "This could have been resolved over two decades ago". We saw ducks yesterday, there are snooks swimming in there.

"There have been numerous, well-documented failures - which continue today - of the property's reservoir liner, including leaks, poor welds, holes, cracks, and weaknesses that existed prior to purchase by the current owner, HRK Holdings, and exacerbated since", she writes.

Hopes said he could not rule out that a full breach could destabilize the walls of the other ponds at the Piney Point site. "So public health and safety is the top priority, and obviously, we want to protect in a way that minimizes any of the environmental impacts".

Nikki Fried, the Florida agriculture commissioner and the only elected Democrat in statewide office, warned of an "environmental catastrophe" and called on DeSantis - who described the toxic water as "mixed saltwater" in a tweet announcing the state of emergency - to hold an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss the state's response.

In 2016, more than 200 million gallons of contaminated waste water from another fertiliser plant in central Florida leaked into one of the state's main aquifers after a massive sinkhole opened up in a pond of a phosphogypsum stack. The wastewater stored in the gypsum stacks can't be seen from the ground as the piles surrounding the structure can go as high as 150m.

DFAT checks on Australians in Taiwan crash
A30 people were killed in 1981 when a truck collided with a passenger train at a crossing at the same level, in Hsinchu. The railway line in eastern Taiwan is a very popular tourist destination and passes along the coast in a scenic area.