MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — The Florida Department of Environmental Protection on Friday revealed it had issued an order, approving a conceptual closure plan for the former Piney Point phosphate mining facility.
The plan, which can be viewed here, would take a phased approach that the DEP says would speed up the eventual closure.
In the meantime, a DEP spokesperson says the court-appointed receiver has been proceeding with the procurement process to shut down the first compartment. Bids from possible contractors are expected this month.
"DEP will continue performing its stringent regulatory oversight of the facility to ensure this is the last chapter in the long history of Piney Point. DEP is committed to working with the receiver to ensure that progress toward closure is done as expeditiously as possible," the DEP wrote in an email.
The agency has previously said its goal is to make sure it can finally eliminate the "potential threat to the environment and surrounding community" posed by the facility, which made national headlines last year.
In March 2021, a tear in one of the former Piney Point 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. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency, which the DEP has said allowed state officials to more quickly move resources and fend off the threat of a "catastrophic collapse."
People living in the area can view the latest status information for the Piney Point site, including water quality reports, by clicking here.