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Environment

Florida Officials Sue Piney Point Owners Over Wastewater Dumped Into Tampa Bay

View of Piney Point
Manatee County Public Safety
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The state is seeking the maximum allowable penalties and recovery of costs and damages from HRK Holdings.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is suing the owner of the former Piney Point fertilizer plant property over the leak earlier this year that ended with more than 200 million gallons of polluted water being pumped into Tampa Bay.

Interim secretary Shawn Hamilton says the state is seeking the maximum allowable penalties and recovery of costs and damages from the owner, HRK Holdings.

“Today, the department took a pivotal step to ensure this is the final chapter for the Piney Point site and fulfill the agency's charge and dedication to holding HRK accountable," Hamilton said in a statement on Thursday. "This action enforces compliance with the state’s environmental laws and all of HRK’s existing authorizations, orders and agreements with the department. The department is seeking the maximum allowable penalties and recovery of costs and damages under existing laws and regulations."

The Tampa Bay Times reports that includes fines of $50,000 dollars a day for violating an order to remove the polluted water from the site by 2019 and $15,000 a day for violating surface and groundwater standards.

The state also wants back the almost $46 million it has spent on emergency contracting at Piney Point so far, and to have the court appoint a receiver to oversee closure of the property.

The civil suit was filed in a Manatee County circuit court.

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