County officials said a breach was detected Friday in one of the walls of the pond that holds about 800 million gallons of water containing phosphorus and nitrogen from an old phosphate plant, according to The Associated Press.
He referred to HRK Holdings' facilities at the Eastport Terminal facility at Piney Point near Tampa Bay, where a phosphate pilings stack containing 480 million gallons of polluted water has been failing, threatening catastrophic collapse, which would flood nearby neighborhoods and damage the Tampa Bay ecology.
A significant leak was discovered Friday at the wastewater pond located at Piney Point, a former phosphate plant.
DeSantis on Saturday declared a state of emergency in Manatee, Hillsborough, and Pinellas counties against the possibility as state and local officials oversaw evacuations.
Florida's Department of Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Noah Valenstein told the Tampa Bay Times the potential environmental disaster's primary threat is to human health.
Ron DeSantis said Sunday that crews are working to prevent the collapse of a large wastewater pond near Tampa Bay while evacuating the area to avoid a "catastrophic flood".
"Federal officials need to clean up this mess the fertilizer industry has dumped on Florida communities and immediately halt further phosphogypsum production", Jaclyn Lopez, the organization's Florida director, said in a statement. "It is slightly acidic, but not at a level that is expected to be a concern".
Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency over the county Saturday.
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Hopes, the county administrator, said Sunday that with new state resources, crews will be almost doubling the amount of water being pumped out of the pond and taken to Port Manatee.
"We've been trying to solve it for 10-20 years and nothing has happened", said Robinson.
Marine algae thrive on such elements, and environmental groups fear the release of millions of gallons of nutrient-rich water into the ocean could trigger a deadly "red tide", or algal bloom, that can suffocate fish and other aquatic life and deter tourist activity.
"This is not acceptable and it's not something we will allow to persist", he said, adding that he has ordered the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation to find a permanent fix at the site.
Manatee County, the state and HRK Holdings, who now owns the property, have worked for years in finding a solution.
"Collapse of Piney Point Stack Imminent!" an alert from county officials released at 11 a.m. Saturday said.
The pond where the leak was found is in a stack of phosphogypsum, a radioactive waste product from the manufacture of fertiliser. State authorities say the water in the breached pond is not radioactive. The water is also contaminated with metals like cadmium.