Energy & Environment

Florida wastewater reservoir to close after leak, DeSantis says

A Florida wastewater reservoir that recently leaked millions of gallons near Tampa Bay will shut down, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said Tuesday. 

DeSantis said that the reservoir at the former Piney Point fertilizer processing plant will close permanently. 

"We want this to be the last chapter of the Piney Point story," DeSantis said. "Today I'm directing the Department of Environmental Management to create a plan to close Piney Point."

DeSantis also said he would direct $15.4 million to be used for technology to pre-treat water from the site to lessen environmental impacts in case of a future leak. That money will come from funds that were already appropriated to the state's Department of Environmental Protection.

He called for enforcement actions against the facility's owner and called for "any and all legal actions" to hold them accountable.

Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson (R) said the legislature will appropriate $100 million in initial funding and that he anticipates that there will be a full plan by the end of the year. 

As a result of the leak, more than 300 homes and businesses were evacuated. 

The reservoir contains stacks of phosphogypsum, a waste product that comes from the production of phosphate fertilizer. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, phosphogypsum is a radioactive substance that produces radon gas, a hazardous air pollutant. 

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