MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — Manatee County leaders announced on Wednesday that drilling had begun for a deep-injection well that will hold the remaining wastewater inside the former Piney Point phosphate mining facility.
More than 200 million gallons of wastewater from the facility's reservoirs will be buried 3,300 feet into the ground. According to the county, that water will be treated before being injected.
"We are pleased to get this started so quickly," said Manatee County Administrator Dr. Scott Hopes. "The cooperation and coordination to get this important project to this point has been remarkable."
Drilling of the well is expected to last through late 2022. Hopes says county leaders hope that means the water will begin being injected at the start of 2023.
Once all the water is removed from Piney Point, the plan, according to Hopes, is to eventually convert the site into soccer fields and a BMX bike park.
In March, a tear in one of the facility's reservoirs caused concern over a potential collapse. In order to prevent a crisis, crews discharged more than 200-million gallons of untreated wastewater into Tampa Bay.
In October, a judge assigned a court-appointed receiver to help close the site once and for all.