Latest Piney Point Update Shows Little Progress
OSFR Monthly Board Meeting - September 22, 2021 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm - See more details
This update lists action in progress to control the next pending disaster from the gypstack poised on the shores of Tampa Bay.
Trucking water to water treatment facilities is a slow solution which could be nullified at any time by a single large rainfall. The planned Underground Injection Control Well provides a novel acronym (UICW) and an easy way out, but is a danger to our aquifer and should not be considered. The public will soon have input on this but it will surely be ignored, just as their overwhelming negative input on Mosaic expansion in Manatee County was ignored by county commissioners.
The DEP is suing the gypstack owner HRK Holdings for environmental negligence, which is exactly what the DEP is guilty of over the span of many years in its relationship with this gypstack and mining operation. Look back at Craig Pittman’s recent revealing story–“Florida DEP has short memory, conveniently forgets its major role in Piney Point problem.”
Finally, the word “monitoring” is the most over-used word by environmental agencies after “let’s do a study.” After the 2016 New Wales sinkhole fiasco, DEP monitorings carry little credibility since the agency withheld warnings to residents for close to three weeks. The preceding link shows explicitly why the DEP in no way merits the public trust.
|CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850-245-2112, [email protected]
Piney Point Update – Sept. 9, 2021
The department is closely monitoring the weather and site conditions as we continue into the rainy season. While the new receiver transitions into his new role, water treatment will continue and the department will work to ensure that all available options to manage water onsite are being pursued in an attempt to minimize the potential need for any future treated discharges.
Key status updates and response activities:
- The site received 0.2 inches of rain overnight. Piney Point has received approximately 27.7 inches of rain since the beginning of June, and is expected to receive at least another 5 inches by the end of September. The current storage capacity for additional rainfall at the site is approximately 11 inches. This capacity is expected to change with rainfall amounts, as well as adjusted water management activities at the site.
- As part of the site’s water management efforts, trucking of water to nearby water treatment facilities has resumed. Trucking resumed on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021, and, to date, 282 trucks have hauled approximately 1,743,440 gallons of process water offsite to the Manatee County Southeast Water Reclamation Facility. Piping of water to the North Regional Water Reclamation Facility resumed Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, and to date, 687,504 gallons have been transferred. Spray evaporation also continues.
- Approximately 271 million gallons are currently held within the NGS-South compartment. Pond level readings are expected to fluctuate due to a host of factors, including rainfall, water management activities and wind/associated waves in the pond.
- Innovative technology companies have been onsite treating water since April 2021, and this is ongoing. As a result of these innovative water treatment practices, nutrients, including Total Phosphorus (TP) and Total Nitrogen (TN), have been significantly reduced. To date, approximately 200 tons of TN and 150 tons of TP have been removed from ponded wastewater.
- On Sept. 1, 2021, DEP issued the Notice of Draft Permit to Manatee County for their planned Underground Injection Control Well. This project is one potential critical element of the necessary water disposal that will enable the ultimate closure of the Piney Point facility once and for all, eliminating the threat from this site to the environment and the community permanently. This draft permit will be publicly noticed along with a notice of public meeting to allow an opportunity for citizens to provide input on the draft permit as well ask questions and obtain information about the draft permit and permitting process.
- On Aug. 25, 2021, a judge issued an order appointing a receivership to serve as an independent third party to oversee management and closure of the Piney Point site. Day-to-day management and operations will now come from this receiver.
- On Aug. 5, 2021, DEP filed a complaint in the 12th Judicial Circuit Court of Manatee County initiating enforcement action against HRK Holdings, LLC. Learn more by reviewing DEP’s enforcement complaint and a frequently asked questions document.
- DEP continues to monitor and sample surrounding waterways following previous discharges. DEP’s interactive water quality dashboard details sampling locations and corresponding results to evaluate any environmental impact. Results will continue to be posted as soon as they are available. DEP is also working collaboratively with the Tampa Bay Estuary Program (TBEP) and local governments to cover more area and collect more data. For a comprehensive view of all sampling in Tampa Bay related to Piney Point, visit TBEP’s interactive water quality dashboard.
- DEP continues working with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Florida Department of Health to monitor algal blooms and water quality. FWC is the lead agency on red tide and will continue to update conditions on their website. For more information on red tide, please visit ProtectingFloridaTogether.gov.
Residents can find the latest information on the status of the site and response activities at ProtectingFloridaTogether.gov/PineyPointUpdate.
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