BRADENTON – Environmental group Manasota 88 has officially requested that the EPA conduct a site investigation at Piney Point, a former phosphate mining site where a ripped liner lead to millions of gallons of hazardous discharge into local waters in 2011. The group says that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has failed to safeguard the former plant and hopes federal involvement will lead to a more environmentally-sound outcome.
|Piney Point aerial photo, Florida DEP|
“Piney Point Phosphate continues to be a serious threat to human health and the environment,” said Manasota 88 chairman Glenn Compton. “The ongoing storage of contaminated water at the former phosphate plant clearly demonstrates that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is not doing enough to safeguard the public or the environment.”
On May 11, 2011, leaks from ruptures atop a lined gypsum stack discharged millions of gallons per day of toxic material into Bishops Harbor for weeks on end. The group fears that the potential for additional toxic water discharges from the former mining site is significant and will lead to the degradation of the water quality of both surface and ground waters, while also causing long-term damage and destruction of natural habitat for wildlife.
Compton expressed little faith that FDEP would move to ensure proper steps to prevent another such catastrophe.
“DEP has yet to complete a comprehensive, statewide assessment plan on Florida's existing two dozen or more phosphogypsum stacks,” said Compton. “These stacks remain as a toxic legacy of the phosphate industry. Each phosphogypsum stack carries with it the risk of creating another Piney Point environmental and financial fiasco.”
Click here to read Manasota 88's request to the EPA.