Florida Residents Evacuated After Reservoir Contaminated With Radioactive Wastewater Starts Collapsing
Residents in the Manatee County of Florida have been forced to leave their homes after a nearby reservoir of toxic wastewater started collapsing.
On Friday, April 2, the Manatee County Public Safety Department issued an emergency evacuation notice to residents within a half-mile radius of Piney Point, a former phosphate processing plant.
A wastewater pond located at the plant is feared to be on the brink of collapse after officials spotted a leak. Officials said the evacuation was necessary due to ‘the imminent uncontrolled release of wastewater’.
‘A portion of the containment wall at the leak site shifted laterally, signifying that structural collapse could occur at any time,’ Jake Saur, Manatee’s Director of Public Safety, told CBS.
As per Tampa Bay Times, residents of around 15-20 homes have been evacuated while officials attempt to control the situation.
Florida‘s governor, Ron DeSantis, has issued a state of emergency and asked the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Division of Emergency Management to try to mitigate the risks of the collapse.
The DEP said its top priority at this time is to control any releases and stop them as quickly as possible. As it stands, the water surrounding the pond is not radioactive.
‘We are completing rigorous water quality sampling daily to support any future enforcement action. While this water meets most water quality standards for marine waters, there are elevated levels of nutrients and the water is acidic. However, the water is not radioactive,’ DEP secretary, Noah Valenstein said.
The pond contains phosphogypsum, a radioactive waste that is a byproduct of processing phosphate that can be used for fertiliser.
‘In addition to high concentrations of radioactive materials, phosphogypsum and processed wastewater can also contain carcinogens and heavy toxic metals,’ the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit dedicated to saving wildlife, said in a statement.
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