The Florida State Environmental Protection Agency has not discovered a second leak in the sewage basin of a previous phosphate and fertilizer plant. Corresponding reports have not been confirmed after an examination by experts, the office announced yesterday (local time).
Around 1.1 billion liters of wastewater contaminated with phosphorus and nitrogen are still in the basin in the Piney Point area south of the city of Tampa, said the head of administration for the Manatee district, Scott Hopes. In the event of a total break in the pool wall, he had warned yesterday of a tidal wave up to six meters high.
Hundreds of houses evacuated over the weekend
With the help of additional pumps that were put into operation yesterday, capacities should be increased significantly: Instead of around 132.5 million liters per day, up to 378.5 million liters could be pumped out, Hopes said. Around 300 houses in the area were evacuated over the weekend, and according to media reports, the residents were initially not allowed to return.
The wastewater in the basin has a higher content of phosphorus and nitrogen, but it is neither toxic nor radioactive, said Florida’s environmental agency. However, this could lead to increased algae formation and thus to fish death. The crack in the 33-hectare and eight-meter-deep basin was discovered last week.