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Piney Point Update

CCA Florida is committed to providing the latest updates on Manatee County’s Piney Point

April 26, 2021 4:25 p.m.

DEP continues to observe daily reductions of concentrated seepage on-site as a result of the stone aggregate that was placed as a repair to the NGS-South liner seam separation. Field operation crews continue to monitor the plate and aggregate using submerged technology.

Key status updates include:  

DEP has been methodically relocating water among the lined storage basins onsite to safely manage water, respond to rainfall events and prepare for water treatment. 

Discharges to Port Manatee ceased April 9, 2021, and have not resumed at this time. 

Approximately 192 million gallons remain in the NGS-South compartment. 

DEP continues to monitor and sample surrounding waterways following previous discharges. 

Red tide conditions in the Gulf of Mexico were detected prior to previous discharges, but outside of the immediate discharge area. 

To read more, please click here

April 19, 2021 6:04 p.m.

According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is working closely with state meteorologists to monitor predicted weather events. Field operations teams continue making preparations to manage increased stormwater ahead of early week forecasts of rain and wind. 

Teams also continue to monitor the small detachment underneath the steel plate around the clock using submerged equipment. There have been no observed changes in the status of the detachment. 

To read more, please click here.

April 14, 2021 5:33 p.m.

According to the DEP, the metal plate acting as a temporary patch is still in position.  One edge of the plate has a slight flow of water coming under due to settling and mud underneath.  This flow is moving to the location of the concentrated seepage and being contained in the drain system and managed on site.  The flow is extremely low and managed with the pumps in the drain system. DEP is working with the engineers to seal this gap off.  Again, nothing is going off site and there are no discharges. For additional information, please the latest report from DEP.  

April 12, 2021 at 7:17 p.m.

Severe weather passed through the Piney Point site, on Sunday, April 11, producing approximately 2.8 inches of rain and strong winds. At this time, there is no identified damage as a result of the recent storm system. The steel plate repair remains sealed at the seam separation and will continue to be monitored.Key status updates and response activities: Discharges to Port Manatee remain ceased.221 million gallons remain in the NGS-South compartment.Piezometers are installed below ground surrounding the NGS-South to detect changes in water pressure within the stack system. This is part of ongoing monitoring in place to help ensure integrity of the stack system. DEP continues to monitor and sample surrounding waterways following previous discharges. DEP’s interactive water quality dashboard details sampling locations and corresponding results to evaluate any environmental impact. Results will continue to be posted as soon as they are available. There are no reported fish kills in the area.Residents can find the latest information on the status of the site and response activities at ProtectingFloridaTogether.gov/PineyPointUpdate.

April 10, 2021 at 6:20 p.m.

This week, DEP deployed diving companies and submersible cameras that identified a seam separation on the east wall of the NGS-South. Dive operations have strategically placed a steel plate on the seam separation to temporarily repair this identified source of concentrated seepage. At this time, the plate has been installed and we will continue to monitor the success of this repair. DEP continues to work to identify whether there are any additional separations of the liner. Click here for additional info.

April 9, 2021 1:52 p.m.

All discharges of untreated water to Port Manatee are currently ceased. As we deploy innovative technology on-site, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) goal is to ensure that any future required discharges to the port are treated to reduce nutrients entering surrounding waterways and minimize possible ecological impacts such as algal blooms.  

DEP continues to monitor and sample surrounding waterways following previous discharges from the NGS-South compartment to Port Manatee. Localized impacts to water quality were observed by DEP in the immediate zone of discharge at the port, which is to be expected at this time. By ceasing untreated discharge, ecological impacts to the area will be mitigated. Sampling efforts and monitoring are ongoing. There are no reported fish kills in the area.  

Key status updates and response activities:  

  • At this time, discharges to Port Manatee have ceased.   
  • Approximately 223 million gallons remain in the NGS-South compartment.  
  • To date, approximately 215 million gallons have been discharged to the port. 
  • DEP tasked two innovative technology companies to initiate nutrient reduction and removal treatments from water on-site prior to discharging to Port Manatee.  
  • DEP deployed diving companies and submersible cameras and identified a seam separation on the east wall of the compartment. Field operations teams are working around the clock to implement necessary repairs to the liner to contain the flow. The flow of the seepage has reduced and remains contained onsite in the facility’s lined stormwater management system.     
  • DEP’s interactive water quality dashboard details sampling locations and corresponding results to evaluate any environmental impacts to Tampa Bay from the Piney Point discharges. Results will continue to be posted as soon as they are available. 

Update is provided by DEP. For additional details, please click here.

April 7, 2021 4:49 p.m.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) tasked two innovative technology companies to initiate nutrient reduction and removal treatments from water on-site prior to discharging to Port Manatee. DEP continues to work with its partners to implement solutions in the waterways surrounding Piney Point to combat potential harmful algal blooms. 

Key status updates and response activities:  

  • Approximately 258 million gallons remain in the NGS-South compartment.  
  • More than 38 million gallons per day are being removed from the NGS-South compartment through pumps and other water management activities.  
  • Controlled discharges of mixed saltwater from NGS-South compartment to Port Manatee are ongoing to reduce the water volume and pressure, and stabilize the system. To date, approximately 173 million gallons have been discharged to the port.  
  • The department is working to repair the one identified area where there is concentrated seepage from the east wall of the NGS-South compartment. The flow of the seepage has reduced and remains contained onsite in the facility’s lined stormwater management system.     
  • DEP’s interactive water quality dashboard details sampling locations and corresponding results to evaluate any environmental impacts to Tampa Bay from the Piney Point discharges. The most recent results show sampling locations in Tampa Bay are attaining marine water quality standards; however, sampling from areas surrounding the active discharge point in Port Manatee shows elevated levels of phosphorus. 
  • Results will continue to be posted as soon as they are available. 
  • Yesterday, Manatee County Emergency Management reopened U.S. Highway 41 to traffic and lifted the local evacuation order enabling local residents and businesses to return home safely. 

Update is provided by DEP. For additional details, please click here.

April 6, 2021 2:53 p.m.

As of this morning, the water remaining was at roughly 300 million gallons.  DEP added additional engineers and calculations were refined, so those numbers will only be more precise moving forward.   Currently, the siphons continue to run and an 18” pump is coming online to augment those siphons and several smaller pumps provide an additional 2,000-2,500 gpm. The seepage flow has not increased and is still contained on site in the lined stormwater ditches and being managed with pumps and vac trucks.

Media reports of a second leak or change in structural integrity are incorrect.  There is no second leak and structural integrity has not changed.  There is lidar imagery flown to better capture any changes in the surface of the impoundment if they occur.  Also, sampling folks are in the bay 2-3 times a day sampling, and the state geologist has deployed to the site to join the multi-disciplinary engineering team consisting of DEP, SWFWMD, Corps and multiple third-party engineers.   

For additional details, visit DEP’s update.

April 5, 2021 4:33 p.m.

The siphon system with controlled discharges to port manatee is continuing to operate at approximately 23,000 gpm.  Additional pumps are being added to increase that flow rate.  Monitoring of water samples is continuing.  DEP brought in a third party engineer firm for the department to augment its engineers and continue to work with the site’s engineers and the Army Corps of Engineers to ensure stabilization of the stack.  The seepage has not increased and those waters are contained in the lined stormwater system.  Innovative treatment technologies are on site today to explore logistics for additional treatment.  Contrary to media reports, there is no know second seepage point at this time per my engineers on site currently.

April 5, 2021 7:15 a.m.

April 4, 2021 12:02 p.m.

Today, Governor Ron DeSantis joined state officials in Manatee County who are actively responding to Piney Point and deploying all necessary resources. Please follow the Florida Division of Emergency Management and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for updates and monitor local alerts and evacuation orders. 

protectingfloridatogether.gov/PineyPointUpdate

April 3, 2021 6:38 p.m.

Florida’s life blood is water and while Legislators are working to fund Everglades projects and switch Florida’s home owners from septic to sewer systems, the State is facing a catastrophic event in Tampa Bay. HRK Holdings’ Piney Point phosphogypsum stack has reported to have a significant leakage which has resulted in an emergency discharge of millions of gallons of contaminated water into Port Mantatee. The result could be be over 420 million gallons of phosphorus and nitrogen rich water being discharged into the Tampa Bay waters. As of right now 50-55 million gallons have been released into an estuary that holds so much aquatic life. CCA is very concerned about this disastrous discharge and its effects of Tampa Bay and possibility of it becoming fuel for an outbreak of red tide if the contaminated water moves offshore or red tide moves inland. This outbreak could amount to huge fish kills in Tampa Bay and surrounding areas. Officials are reporting that this discharge could take up to 10-12 days before the significant tear is reachable to fix. The manager of the HRK facility told the Manatee County Commission of his concern for a total collapse of the gypsum stacks, which we have learned that the area surrounding the stack has been evacuated. 

This situation needs immediate attention and the Piney Point stacks need to be drained and cleaned so more hazardous events can not occur. CCA FL is working with DEP and other agencies to make sure these issues are resolved. 

The maps show the location of Piney Point and the newly expanded evacuation zone. 

Contact your local elected officials and ask for their help in cleaning up Florida’s water. 

public.services@dep.state.fl.us

April 3, 2021 1:43 p.m.

Piney Point Uodate:

The site has been evacuated due to structural instability. State emergency management is on site with DEP, DOT, and DOH, and they are all ready to respond any structural failures. The current estimate is roughly 50-55 million gallons discharged to Port Manatee. 

Please pray for the local residents, Tampa Bay and our precious marine resources. 

Local roads have been closed, including US 41.

April 3, 2021 9:20 a.m.

DEP Saturday Morning Update:

The repair to the seepage is ongoing with water still being contained on site. Division of Emergency Management is on site as well to assist in accessing and moving additional resources, and DOT and DOH are looped in as well. 

Follow updates at the following link..

April 2, 2021 9:43 p.m.

Piney Point Press Conference. As of 8:00pm today, approximately 38-39 million gallons have been discharged through the pipe system to Port Manatee. DEP does not have an estimated volume for the seepage, which they are working through the night to repair. The seepage water is currently remaining contained on site through ditch systems. We don’t have a precise location on the tear, but do believe it is one of the lower end compartments.

Stay tuned for more updates.

April 2, 2021 1:18 p.m.

CCA is aware and is working with DEP regarding of the situation at Piney Point in Palmetto, FL. HRK Holdings alerted the Department of Environmental Protection of the leak and DEP has been on site with employees monitoring the leak twenty-four hours a day at this point. The DEP has issued an emergency order, which would allow for the facility to discharge into the Port of Manatee to stop a catastrophic failure of the stack. DEP’s emergency order does not preclude the Department from enforcing any criminal or civil liabilities which may arise under Florida law as related to this matter.

While not an ideal situation the facility is allowed to discharge the wastewater to the point that the stack can regain structural integrity and HRK can begin to fix the leak. At this time just over 20 million gallons of wastewater has been released into the Port. CCA will continue to monitor and stay in touch with the DEP and other agencies. We will continue to update our membership as this situation develops. CCA is committed to Florida’s fisheries, water quality and our precious estuaries.

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