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Local drinking water in Manatee County is safe, officials say

This includes well water.

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — While Florida state and local leaders fear an "imminent" collapse of the retention pond at the former Piney Point phosphate processing plant in Manatee County, they want to assure people that their water supply is still safe to drink. 

"I want to say that Manatee County Utilities customers can rest assured that our drinking water is completely safe to drink," said County Commission Chairman Vanessa Baugh in a statement. "The water distribution system is a closed system without any way for flood water to enter. There is also no threat at all to our primary source of drinking water, Lake Manatee."

About 316 homes have been ordered to evacuate in the area near Piney Point, and many people who live there use well water. Baugh says that water is safe to drink as well. 

"Well water is unaffected so long as the outfall continues to flow safely into Piney Creek," Baugh said in a statement. "If a breech occurs, we believe that the surface layers of dirt and earth will safely filter any harmful nutrients near the surface. In addition, if an uncontrolled breech occurs, the Department of Health will issue any necessary advisories regarding the safety of the well water."

Florida DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein said Sunday the wastewater from Piney Point has not impacted ground water in the area. And, Valenstein said DEP is "actively monitoring" the controlled drainage of the compromised Piney Point reservoir. 

Anyone with questions or concerns on the current Piney Point situation should call 311. 

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