Toxic Wastewater Leak Poses Danger in Florida's Manatee County

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a State of Emergency for Manatee County on Saturday, April 3, as officials warned of the imminent collapse of a retention pond holding hundreds of millions gallons of toxic wastewater.

Footage provided to Storyful by Manatee County Public Safety shows a rushing stream of contaminated water.

The state-run Protecting Florida Together, website said the leak had been reported on March 26.

On Saturday morning, Manatee County Public Safety said a significant leak had compromised the stability of the pond, which sits atop a phosphogypsum stack (often shortened to “gypsum stack”) near Piney Point, and ordered evacuations. Phosphogypsum is a regulated, radioactive substance that is the byproduct of fertilizer manufacturing, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There are 27 gypsum stacks across Florida, WFLA reported.

The gypsum stack at Piney Point is one of 27 across Florida, WFLA reported. Credit: Chloe Conboy/Manatee County Public Safety via Storyful