A leak was discovered days ago in a septic tank in the Tampa Bay area containing more than a million cubic meters of contaminated water. Attempts to stop the leak failed, resulting in massive flooding and possibly an environmental disaster.
Experts insist that the dam at the Penny Point mine could still be breached at any time. According to the latest estimates, this could lead to a six-meter-high water wall. Contaminated water can end up in Tampa Bay, too.
The Tampa Bay Times writes that the residents of more than 300 homes in the area must be evacuated. Alternative housing is also being sought for 345 prisoners from a nearby prison.
Meanwhile, attempts are being made to reduce pressure on the reservoir by pumping water from the reservoir and emptying it elsewhere. However, the danger should have passed on Tuesday.
The tank contains wastewater, including phosphorous, from a former manure plant. According to the Florida Department of the Environment, while water is relatively acidic, it is most likely non-toxic. Environmental organizations are skeptical about it. Too much nitrogen in the water, for example, can speed up the growth of algae and thus the death of fish.
By declaring a state of emergency, more resources can be deployed to prevent an impending environmental disaster.
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