MANATEE -- State officials have calculated that a Piney Point facility sent more than 169 million gallons of emergency discharges through ditches and into Bishop Harbor over a couple of weeks’ time.
The flow from the HRK Holdings LLC site at 13300 U.S. 41 N. came to a total of 169,179,780 gallons from May 28 through June 17, according to a table released today by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which is overseeing repairs to the facility.
State water quality tests showed that that discharge contained a toxic heavy metal, cadmium, which was measured in one place at more than 10 times the state freshwater standard.
The tests also showed higher-than-normal levels of the nutrients phosphorus and nitrogen.
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The company converted a former phosphate plant to store dredge material from a Port Manatee construction site, but last month it began to leak.
DEP officials issued an order allowing emergency discharges in order to preserve the integrity of the massive structure, which covers 400 acres and is 75-90 feet high.
Company officials suspect ruptures in a plastic liner may have caused the leaks, but they have said they await the conclusion of experts, who are studying the matter.