[NFA] Crews were working around the clock on Monday to prevent the collapse of a waste water reservoir's leaky containment wall near Tampa Bay, Florida, making steady progress after officials warned of an imminent threat of flooding over the weekend.
Crews were working around the clock Monday to prevent the collapse of a containment wall at a waste water reservoir near Tampa Bay, Florida after officials warned of an imminent threat of flooding.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was working alongside local emergency management crews to drain waste water from the Piney Point reservoir, which holds about 480 million gallons.
Amid heightened threats, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency on Saturday over concerns that stacks of phosphogypsum waste could collapse and cause dangerous flooding at the site.
The situation was improving on Monday as the coordinating agencies had managed to ramp up a pumping system that was draining polluted water from the property to Port Manatee.
Director Jacob Saur of Manatee County Public Safety said the Department of Florida Emergency Management coordinated a deployment of approximately 20 pumps to the site.
"All of those are expected to be online by the end of the day.
Drone teams have been deployed by the state as well as the country.
And they are flying every hour and on the hour to give our emergency operations center a real time view of what is occurring out of the site." Officials say the drainage is necessary to ease pressure on the retaining wall and avoid the catastrophe of a sudden breach.
But environmental advocates worry that pumping nutrient-dense water into Port Manatee will cause ecological trouble.
Officials said at least 30 local residents had been evacuated to hotels for shelter as the drainage effort continues.