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Low-volume seepage areas found at Piney Point site

Authorities say there is no cause for concern for the stability of the phosphate mining facility reservoir stack.

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — Authorities with the Department of Environmental Protection say three low-volume seepage areas have been found at the Piney Point site.

The discovery was made late Wednesday night, according to a release.

The DEP says there is no indication these seepage areas will cause concern with the "integrity or stability of the stack system." And, there are no planned offsite discharges.

The court-appointed receiver sent contractors to the site Wednesday to access the seepage and ensure it was contained, according to the DEP.

An investigation into the leak is ongoing and the DEP says investigators have not yet found the source of the leak. 

"We will continue to closely monitor site conditions to ensure the protection of human health and safety, and minimize environmental impacts," the DEP said in its release. 

About 269 million gallons of nutrient-rich wastewater is still currently held within the NGS-South compartment, according to the DEP. 

In March 2021, a tear in one of the former phosphate mining facility's reservoirs caused concern over a potential collapse. To prevent a crisis, crews discharged more than 200 million gallons of untreated wastewater into Tampa Bay. 

In October 2021, a judge assigned a court-appointed receiver to help close the site once and for all.

And, in December 2021, drilling began for a deep-injection well to hold the remaining wastewater. It is set to be completed in 2023. 

Additionally, another method of removing the polluted water is through the natural power of evaporation.