Florida officials have warned that the imminent collapse of a reservoir near Tampa could unleash a 20-foot ‘wall of polluted water’ as they urged residents to evacuate the area.
Governor Ron DeSantis held a press conference after over 300 families were evacuated near the large wastewater reservoir.
He confirmed state officials are ‘trying to prevent a real catastrophic flood situation’ with 340 million gallons of water that could be released.
Gov. DeSantis said the water ‘is not radioactive’ but said that around 100,000 bottles of drinking water have been delivered to the area.
He was joined by Manatee County Administrator Scott Hopes, who warned: “So if you are in an evacuation area and you have not heeded that, you need to think twice and follow the orders.”
The governor had declared a state of emergency after the significant link.
After flying over the area, DeSantis said during a press conference: “What we are looking at now is trying to prevent and respond to, if need be, a real catastrophic flood situation.”
People living around the Piney Point reservoir received an emergency alert via text message urging them to leave the area immediately.
Noah Valenstein, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection Secretary, told the Tampa Bay Times that the potential environmental disaster’s primary threat is to human health.
“The imminent threat is public health. We can take care of nutrients in the environment… the bay is resilient.”
According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, a break was found on Friday in one of the walls of a 77-acre pond that has a depth of 25 feet.
Hopes said the most pressing concern is that the water could flood the area.
“We are talking about the potential of about 600 million gallons (2.3 billion liters) within a matter of seconds and minutes leaving that retention pool and going around the surrounding area,” he said at a press conference.
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