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Ground-penetrating radar being used to assess Piney Point wastewater seepage

Water sampling is also underway.
Credit: Florida Department of Environmental Protection

PALMETTO, Fla. — Dive crews responded to a situation this week at the former Piney Point phosphate processing plant where wastewater previously led to evacuations.

While concerns over a total collapse of the reservoir have faded, worries remain over the potential environmental impacts of the millions of gallons of nutrient-rich wastewater dumped into Tampa Bay.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection said a low-level flow was found Tuesday afternoon, coming from the concentrated seepage area on the east wall of the New Gypsum Stack - South Compartment, where roughly 215 million gallons of wastewater are still sitting.

Dive crews were dispatched and found a "small detachment" under the plate that had been installed over the liner seam separation.

"At this time, the low-level flow rate appears to be consistent. Assessment and repair efforts continue," DEP wrote in an update.

Ground penetrating radar was being used Thursday to further assess the situation.

Meanwhile, DEP said discharges into Port Manatee remain halted. The state is working to ensure that any future wastewater discharges are pre-treated to "minimize any ecological impacts."

The state has been sampling water found the surrounding area. Water quality updates can be found on the DEP's dashboard.

Additional Piney Point updates can be found here.

RELATED: Environmental Protection watches water quality after Piney Point wastewater releases

RELATED: Florida DEP: 'Low-level flow' spotted from underneath temporary fix at Piney Point site

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