MANATEE -- Repairs are expected to be completed Wednesday at a former Piney Point phosphate plant that leaked millions of gallons into the neighborhood around it.
Dredging at a Port Manatee construction project across the street could start shortly thereafter, pending state approval, said Jordan Levy, chief executive officer for HRK Holdings LLC, the owner of the property.
Although rain halted repairs about 3 a.m. Friday, work is slated to resume Monday at the HRK facility at 13300 U.S. 41 N., said Levy.
The company is in the process of filling channels and cavities inside the structure with a cement mixture that is being pumped into the gypsum stack to provide stability, he said.
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“This is to fill the void created by the water flow beneath the liner, and provide support to both the liner patch -- which will be applied -- and the gyp structures surrounding the cavity,” Levy said Friday.
The company had cleaned the former phosphate gypsum stack and installed a heavy plastic liner in compartments atop it in order to process and then store dredge material sent through pipeline from the port.
However, on May 11, the company sought help from state officials when it suspected that the liner had developed ruptures, causing the huge complex to leak. Water eroded material beneath the liner in the gyp stack, Levy said.
More than 169 million gallons escaped into the neighborhood and into Bishop Harbor before the company was finally able to staunch the flow June 16, according to Florida Department of Environmental Protection calculations.
In an effort to provide time for repairs, port officials halted dredging June 3, but it could resume next week, pending state approval, Levy said.
The department issued an emergency order May 29 allowing discharges in an effort to ensure the stability of the structure, officials said.
The HRK facility pipes dredge material from the port with the help of huge amounts of seawater, which it then filters out and sends back to the port, while the dredge material remains to be stored at the HRK complex.
The port is dredging Berth 12 to allow for larger ships.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7031.