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UPDATE: Low-volume seepage areas not yet fixed at Piney Point site

Environmental experts are still dealing with the leak.

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — The Department of Environmental Protection continues to investigate three low-volume seepage areas that were discovered at the Piney Point site.

For nearly a week, gallons of water was leaking from the former phosphate mining facility's reservoir. Experts used sonar and divers to explore the leak, and they managed to find one source on Friday.

The DEP says it would be difficult to estimate how long the leak will take to repair.

The expert efforts to explore the leak appear to have moved some things around and temporarily paused the leaking. But, the DEP emphasizes that the seepage has not yet been permanently plugged and is expected to resume at any point.

About 267 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 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.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that crews had fixed low-volume seepage areas. The DEP has clarified that was not the case. This story has been updated.

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