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authorities warned of possible “catastrophic floods”

An area of ​​Florida is on alert after a dangerous spill from a sewage tank. The authorities fear that this dam will burst and houses and roads will be flooded.

The governor of the state, Ron DeSantis, assured this Sunday in a press conference that the emergency teams are working to avoid “a flood situation real catastrophic “.

“The water that is poured it is not radioactive, it is mainly salt water… mixed with processed and rain water, ”he added. He also assured that the National Guard continues to bring equipment to remove the said liquid.

To the question of what is the probability of total breakdown of the deposit, he answered: “We are preparing for that, hoping it doesn’t happen, but we definitely have to prepare for it.”.

According to Manatee County officials, the rupture has the potential to eject 340 million gallons of water in minutes and expelling a wall of water 20 feet high (6.1 meters).

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Ron DeSantis said Saturday night that he had declared a state of emergency for Manatee County, allowing “the necessary resources to be allocated” to handle the situation.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis during a press conference Sunday, April 4, 2021, at the Manatee County Office of Emergency Management in Palmetto, Florida. AP

Florida authorities ordered the eviction of more than 300 homes and closed on Saturday a highway near this well, located in the Tampa Bay area, north of Bradenton.

The inhabitants who live in the affected area received the alert through a text message on their cell phone, with which they were recommended to leave the area immediately because the collapse was “imminent.” Hours later, authorities expanded the eviction area hours later to include more houses, although they said they did not plan to open shelters.

The sewage deposit where the leak was discovered is located in the old Piney Point phosphate mine, located on a pile of phosphogypsum, a waste derived from the manufacture of fertilizers and that is radioactive.

Phosphogypsum contains small amounts of radium and uranium naturally, and accumulated batteries can also release large concentrations of radon gas.

As The New York Times explains, the main concern is that a sudden and uncontrolled breach will cause a flood of inhabited areas with this waste.

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“We are talking about the possibility that some 600 million gallons (2.3 billion liters) will leave the holding pond in a matter of seconds and minutes and flood the surrounding area,” Manatee County Administrator Scott Hopes said at a news conference. .

The authorities have assured that so far the level of substances in the water is not believed to be “toxic,” adds the Times.

Activists for the defense of the environment are alarmed by what is happening, according to our affiliate Telemundo 49. “It’s a crisis,” said one of them.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection said a breach was detected in one of the walls of the deposit on Friday. The first spill was registered last week. The well has a surface area of ​​77 acres (33 hectares, a depth of 25 feet (eight meters).

Workers have been pumping thousands of gallons per minute to reduce volume in case the pond bursts. From Friday night to Saturday, the authorities brought stones and materials to plug the hole in the pond, but the attempt was unsuccessful.

Emptying the entire pond would take between 10 and 12 days, according to current events.

The company that owns the venue, HRK Holdings, did not respond to a request for comment on Saturday, according to The Associated Press news agency.

With AP information, The New York Times, Telemundo 49, WFLA y NBC News.

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