Authorities in the County of Manatee in the US state of Florida warned residents that in the event of a possible breakthrough of a water reservoir at the former Piney Point phosphate plant, a wave of industrial water six meters high could cover the surrounding area.
State Governor Ron Desantis declared a state of emergency in Manatee County on Saturday due to a leaking reservoir. Authorities warned that 480 million gallons of mixed saltwater (about 18 thousand cubic meters – ed.) Could pour out into the surrounding area within minutes. According to the county’s emergency centre, the water from the reservoir “meets most seawater quality standards” and is “non-radioactive” but is acidic.
In the Piney Point area, an evacuation was announced due to the threat of flooding for about 316 houses.
“If there is a complete breakthrough, within minutes – we have now reduced the volume in the tank to 340 million gallons (1.2 million cubic meters – ed.) – all this can completely pour out in minutes, … a wave of water 20 feet high ( 6 meters – ed.), “ County Administrator Scott Hopes said during a joint press conference with the governor.
Hopes urged all those in the evacuation zone to follow the authorities’ advice and leave their homes.
At the same time, Hopes noted that inmates of the Manatee County jail, located in the evacuation zone, were transferred to the second floor of the building, where water, according to forecasts, will not reach.
During the conference, the Florida governor said that an average of 33 million gallons of water a day is being pumped out, with the state’s National Guard delivering 20 additional pumps.