A reservoir in Florida, United States (USA), which threatened to flood the city of Tampa with more than 1000 million liters of water contaminated with phosphogypsum, from the phosphate fertilizer industry, has become an environmental problem.
According to Public, although the risk of a “Catastrophic flood” has declined this Tuesday, environmentalists speak of “significant damage” to the environment due to drainage operations for the port of Manatee, in Tampa Bay, from part of the water whose pressure threatened to destroy the reservoir.
“Our goal now is to try to prevent and respond, if necessary, to a truly catastrophic flood situation,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said on Sunday night, quoted by Tampa Bay Times.
On Friday, a “part of the support wall” moved “sideways”, aggravating the deterioration of the reservoir structure of an old phosphate plant in Piney Point, with authorities declaring a “state of emergency” on Saturday . More than 300 houses were evacuated and many of the families were housed in hotels.
According to Manatee County Administrator Scott Hopes, the city “is not yet free from danger.” The teams try to fill the gaps in the lining with stones and other materials, while removing part of the wastewater in a controlled way to the port of Manatee through “a drainage ditch,” said Hopes to the agency. Reuters.
The structure is one of three reservoirs from the old factory, which contain sea and rain water with nitrogen and phosphogypsum, substance monitored due to potential radioactivity. The Florida Environmental Protection Agency guarantees, however, that these waters are neither “radioactive” nor “toxic”, with environmental risks devalued.
Environmentalists warn of an “environmental catastrophe” due to the spread of harmful algae that could affect aquatic life in Tampa Bay.
According to Hopes, the situation could have been resolved “more than two decades ago”, since the first signs of deterioration date back to 2003. At that time, the Florida Environmental Protection Agency had already authorized the drainage of millions of liters of water for the gulf of mexico.