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Deep injection well expected to fix issues at Piney Point, but it'll take years

The Manatee County Board of Commissioners approved transferring wastewater to the well -- a long-term fix to the site.

BRADENTON, Fla. — The threat of collapse for people who live in the area is gone, but pumps keep gushing out at least 35 million gallons of wastewater a day at the Piney Point site. 

Almost a week into learning about a breach in the liner of one of the ponds, the Manatee County Board of Commissioners say they've approved a permanent fix.

"The board unanimously authorized the use of a deep injection well on county-owned property," Commissioner Vanessa Baugh said Tuesday afternoon.

Their solution is to dig a well that should keep the remaining wastewater kept on the Piney Point site out of Tampa Bay.

"The water atop those stacks will be treated before it goes into the well and then capped to make sure no other water enters that well," Baugh said.

Acting Manatee County Administrator Dr. Scott Hopes says the deep injection well will be dug almost 2,000-3,000 feet into the ground. Water from the site will be treated and filtered in. Officials say it will take a century for the water to filter out into the Gulf of Mexico.

"Piney Point has had decades of this story that just sounds like the same story over and over again. An incident that's not being fully addressed or closed," Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein said. "I'm excited that the county is committed to making sure this is the last chapter of this story. 

"The department is committed to making sure this is the last chapter."

Due to the emergency order in Manatee that was declared by both the state and county, the state will foot the bill. Hopes says it could cost anywhere from $8-12 million for the well. 

The state expects to fund the clean-up of Piney Point for $200 million. All could be accomplished in two to three years, officials say.

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