At the end of last week, a serious breach of the walls of a wastewater reservoir at Pinney Point, Florida threatened to spill hundreds of millions of gallons of contaminated water into nearby communities.
Water contains high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen, which can affect water quality. When the reservoir collapses completely, subsequent floods can hit local homes and businesses and be contaminated by radioactive waste stored at the reservoir site. Reported by Bradenton Herald..
Authorities have started pumping to prevent this potential disaster Wastewater Exit the reservoir and enter Port Manatee, the port that departs for Tampa Bay. Tampa Bay Times reported.. Pumping began on March 30 and by April 4, an average of 35 million gallons (132 million liters) of water had been dumped into the bay each day. The dumped water is not radioactive.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Manatee County’s deputy manager Scott Hopes said on April 4 that he plans to drain the reservoir completely into the bay and “large storage vessels.”
“We haven’t left an important area yet,” Hopes said.If the reservoir collapses, “all models show that it takes less than an hour to drain the reservoir at a height of 20 feet. [6 meters] The wall of water, “he said.
What’s in the water?
Authorities initially reported a leak on one of the Piny Point Reservoir ponds on March 26. At this time, water was flowing from the pond at a rate of 2 to 3 million gallons (8 to 11 million liters) per day. According to the New York Times.. According to Bradenton Herald, 79 acres (32 hectares) of ponds are mostly saltwater, rainwater, stormwater spills dredged from Port Manati, and “process water” from the now abandoned Piny Point Phosphate Plant. It contains.
According to Herald, the phosphate plant was originally opened in 1966 to produce fertilizer and has been in operation for 35 years. Fertilizer production also produced waste called phosphorus gypsum, which contained the following radioactive substances: uranium And radium..
The leaking waste reservoir is on top of this phosphorus gypsum “stack” and the water itself is not radioactive, but if the reservoir wall suddenly breaks, the underlying stack will collapse and radioactive material will flow into nearby communities and waterways. There is a possibility.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the leak reservoir is also near two additional wastewater reservoirs. If the leaking ponds collapse, some experts are worried that the released water will wash away the ponds near them, releasing hundreds of millions of gallons of contaminated water.
The drainage from the leak pond “meets the water quality standards of seawater, except for pH. Rin,total nitrogen According to the New York Times, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has announced that it is “slightly acidic, but not at a level of concern and is not expected to be toxic.”
#PineyPoint Update:-Manatee County officials said the thermo drone found a second potential leak-additional pumps move up to 100 million gallons per day-engineers move second potential This is our backyard and we need to find a permanent solution. pic.twitter.com/Ho6vWeurYLApril 5, 2021
According to the New York Times, on March 26, the leaked pond was filled with 480 million gallons (1.8 billion liters) of water. By April 3, only 390 million gallons (1.5 billion liters) remained. Engineers tried to close the leak on April 2nd and 3rd, but with no success.
As a result of scrutiny, engineers said, “Staff and personnel are coming from the site as part of the leak site’s containment wall has moved laterally, indicating that structural collapse can occur at any time. I evacuated. ” I told the Tampa Bay Times of public security.
April 3, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis State of emergency, Established a forced evacuation zone around the reservoir. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the evacuation zone includes more than 300 homes and farmlands, meadows and natural gas plants that power millions of Manatee County residents. Manatee County Prison is also in the flood zone, but not all staff and prisoners have been evacuated. Some have just been moved to higher floors in prison.
According to Bradenton Herald, Hope said on Sunday (April 4th), “Given the amount of water removed and the current stability of the current breach, I think the team is much more comfortable than yesterday.” Told. “By adding a pump … I think we’re in a better position.” According to the Tampa Bay Times, as of April 4, there was 300 million gallons of water left in the leaking pond. It was less than (1.1 billion liters).
Wastewater from leak ponds is not expected to be toxic, but sudden injections of phosphorus and nitrogen into Tampa Bay can cause havoc to local plants and wildlife.
For example, lawn fertilizers, septic tanks, and pollutants from agricultural waste fuel Blue-green algae At the mouth of Florida’s Atlantic coast, the Indian River Lagoon covers the surface with mud that prevents light from reaching the seagrass below. Reported by National Geographic..When those seagrass died, it caused a spillover effect throughout the ecosystem and left. Manatees Too little food to survive.
Matthew Pasek, a professor of earth sciences at the University of South Florida, said that “algae outbreaks followed by fish kills are most likely” following the Piney Point disaster. Told Axios.. “It will also affect the food chain further downstream. It is unlikely to cause human casualties, but for some time there will be a fairly stinky bay.”
The Piny Point Reservoir has leaked several times in the past, According to Bradenton Herald.. In 2003, about 250 million gallons (950 million liters) of wastewater was dumped into the Gulf of Mexico to prevent overflow in the reservoir, and in 2011, a large amount of wastewater was dumped in Bishop Harbor due to a pond rupture. It was sent.
Originally published in Live Science.
Florida authorities are competing to drain a huge wastewater reservoir before it could collapse
Source link Florida authorities are competing to drain a huge wastewater reservoir before it could collapse