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Breach continues but evacuation orders lifted near Florida reservoir

April 6, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 40.3%. 2 min read.

Evacuation orders near a Tampa-area reservoir where there still is a breach have been lifted, officials said Tuesday.

Bradenton, Florida (CNN)Evacuation orders near a Tampa-area reservoir where there still is a breach have been lifted, officials said Tuesday.

Acting Manatee County Administrator Scott Hopes said the situation at the former Piney Point phosphate plant is "very much under control now. "

Hopes said they have successfully released approximately 180 million gallons of water.

At least 137 people and 36 pets were impacted by the evacuation orders, but as of Tuesday afternoon they could return safely, Manatee County Public Safety Director Jacob Saur said at a news conference.

"You also would have had all of this water going into the bays and other freshwater, which is what red tide feeds off of," she said.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the US Environmental Protection Agency are testing the water in the pond and the release, she said.

The water quality is still safe, she said, but they will continue to monitor it until the breach is fixed.

Officials said controlling the release of water from the pond allows it to mix safely with the water in the bay.

Water in the storage ponds at the Piney Point reservoir site is acidic but not radioactive, according to Noah Valenstein, secretary of the state's Department of Environmental Protection.

The Manatee County Commission on Tuesday authorized a deep injection well, which they said would act as a long-term solution to any potential issues that might arise at Piney Point.

The Piney Point facility is about 40 miles south of Tampa's city center, but the population density area is "extremely low," Hopes said.

Since Mulberry abandoned the site after declaring bankruptcy in 2001, the Piney Point site has been maintained by the state of Florida, Manatee County and the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a 2003 EPA news release.

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