The governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, declared a state of emergency on Saturday after a significant leak at a large pond at the old Piney Point phosphate mine threatened to burst a system that stores water polluted with radioactive materials.
Officials ordered more than 300 homes evacuated and closed off a highway near the large reservoir in the Tampa Bay area north of Bradenton.
Residents who live around the Piney Point reservoir received an alert via text saying to leave the area immediately because the collapse was “imminent”. Authorities expanded the evacuation area later Saturday to include more homes, but said they were not planning to open shelters.
The state department of environmental protection said a break was detected on Friday in one wall of a 77-acre pond that has a depth of 25ft and holds millions of gallons of water containing phosphorus and nitrogen from the old phosphate plant.
Officials brought in rocks and materials to plug the hole but were unsuccessful.
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