If you’re an owner of a wholesale fish distribution center or fishery and want to know what your options are, Florin|Roebig is here to help. Since 1985, we’ve helped countless individuals claim compensation for other peoples’ negligence or wrongful behavior, and we’re here to do the same for you.
What Happened In Manatee County?
On Saturday, April 3, 2021, the governor of Florida Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency following the uncovering of a significant leak in a reservoir that holds wastewater given off by the Piney Point phosphate mine in Manatee County, Florida. The Piney Point phosphate plant originally opened in 1966 but hasn’t been active since 2001. The leak that developed over the last few weeks is part of a 77-acre holding reservoir that contains a whopping 480 million gallons of contaminated wastewater water. And, this water needs a place to go so that the reservoir can be fixed. Unfortunately, authorities have turned to Tampa Bay as the potential solution.
The state of emergency was declared due to the risk that the water in the holding pool may spill out over and flood nearby buildings, homes, and other structures. If the reservoir were to break and flood, it would also compromise two additional pools nearby that also contain contaminated wastewater. Because the water in the holding pool is toxic — it contains a variety of harmful chemicals, including phosphorus, ammonia, nitrogen, and traces of uranium and radium — residents of the county were evacuated. In an effort to prevent this flooding from happening and avoid the reservoir collapsing, contaminated water has been pumped from the holding pool into Tampa Bay at an astounding 22,000 gallons per minute. According to the director of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program Ed Sherwood, if all of the reservoir is dumped into Tampa Bay, it’s the equivalent of “dumping 50,000 bags of fertilizer” into the estuary. He went on to state that releasing the water into the Bay could result in “double the amount of nutrients” in the water than what it would need in an entire year.
As many can imagine, this level of wastewater can have a significant impact on the Bay that could have a ripple effect on the people and businesses who rely on it.
Potential Effects Of Contaminated Reservoir Water To Tampa Bay
While it’s too early to tell the exact effects that the reservoir water will have on Tampa Bay, many have speculated its impact. A few of the outcomes that are being predicted include:
- Algal blooms due to the nitrogen in the reservoir water
- The polluted water flowing out of the bay and into other water sources
- Double the amount of nutrients in the bay than what is needed for an entire year
- Reduced oxygen levels in the bay as the algae decays, resulting in the death of fish and marine life in large quantities
- The death of the seagrass beds surrounding Piney Point, which would be harmful to the manatees
- Negative impacts on the marine life food chain later down the road
- Contaminated drinking and bathing water for residents surrounding the area
- A red tide event in Tampa Bay, resulting in potential human illness
- A negative impact on the tourist aspect of Tampa Bay
Fisheries and wholesale fish distributors are bracing for the impact of what the impact of the reservoir water will mean for their businesses. If the contaminated water results in large amounts of fish dying off, it could severely affect these companies’ bottom line.
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What To Do If You’re Concerned About Your Business
If you own a fishery or wholesale fishing distribution company and want to come forward to sue Piney Point for business closure or business disruption, it’s important to have a trusted attorney on your side. At Florin|Roebig, we’ve helped countless business owners like you reclaim the money they lost due to wrongful behavior or negligence. We understand how significant of an impact an issue like the contamination from the Piney Point reservoir can have on your business, and we want to fight for you to ensure you get the compensation you need and deserve. For a free consultation, call us today at (800) 226-6581.