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The Piney Point reservoir in Manatee Countee, Florida, could burst “imminently” authorities have warned. Local residents have been urged to immediately evacuate their homes before the deluge is unleashed. Officials have warned a “significant leak” has developed at the reservoir.
The reservoir holds an estimated 400 million gallons of wastewater from a former phosphate plant.
A state of emergency has been declared by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis this Easter weekend.
He tweeted: “Due to a possible breach of mixed saltwater from the south reservoir at the Piney Point facility, I have declared a State of Emergency for Manatee County to ensure resources are allocated for necessary response and recovery.”
The Manatee County Public Safety Department expects there to be an “imminent uncontrolled release of wastewater.”
Manatee Director of Public Safety Jake Saur warned: “A portion of the containment wall at the leak site shifted laterally, signifying that structural collapse could occur at any time.”
According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FLDEP), an 18-inch pump was airlifted by a helicopter to the reservoir on Sunday to pump water out of the containment area.
Should the reservoir breach, the goal is to minimise the amount of water released.
Authorities have been notified of water leaking into the reservoir on March 26.
The facility was releasing wastewater into Pineyney Point Creek, which connects to Tampa Bay.
Crews are now working round-the-clock to contain the threat, according to Manatee County Commission.
The county’s commissioners held an emergency meeting this week to determine the best course of action.
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