In the state of Florida this week, a number of residents are being forced to flee their homes, but, instead of the usual hurricane danger that many Sunshine State citizens are used to, this week’s trouble is not mother nature’s fault.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Sunday that crews are working to prevent the collapse of a large wastewater pond in the Tampa Bay area while evacuating the area to avoid a “catastrophic flood.”
Manatee County officials said earlier Sunday that the latest models showed that a breach at the old phosphate plant reservoir had the potential to gush out 340 million gallons of water in a matter of minutes, risking a 20-foot-high wall of water. Throughout the day the volume had decreased to below 300 million.
The issue has been ongoing.
Crews have been discharging water since the pond began leaking in late March. On Friday, a significant leak that was detected escalated the response and prompted the first evacuations and a declaration of a state of emergency followed on Saturday. A portion of the containment wall in the reservoir shifted, leading officials to think a collapse could occur at any time.
A local jail was not evacuated on account of the issue, rather, the inmates had been moved to the second floor with the first floor now fitted with sandbags.
Authorities have no idea when the reservoir could collapse, but are refusing to take many chances.