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Environment
Phosphate processing plants in the greater Tampa Bay region have caused some of Florida's worst environmental disasters. Accidents like the spill at the former Piney Point plant fill the history books in Florida.

Florida moves closer to issuing a permit for deep well injection of Piney Point wastewater

Piney Point April 26 DEP. Florida Department of Environmental Protection officials atop the Piney Point gypstack
Fl. Department of Environmental Protection
Florida Department of Environmental Protection officials atop the Piney Point gypstack on April 26

The permit will allow up to 4 million gallons a day of wastewater from the Piney Point facility to be injected nearly 2,000 feet below the surface.

Florida officials intend to issue a permit that allows Manatee County to pump water from the Piney Point phosphate plant into a deep well.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection last week sent out a notice of intent to issue the permit.

The permit will allow the county to inject up to 4 million gallons a day of wastewater from the Piney Point facility into Florida’s aquifer nearly 2,000 feet below the surface.

Anyone opposed to the plan will have two weeks to file a petition for an administrative hearing.

Manatee County commissioners applied for the permit in April, after a leak in one of the reservoirs forced the release of more than 200 million gallons of contaminated water into Tampa Bay.

Officials have struggled to determine what to do with the water, which sits in several ponds atop stacks of phosphogypsum, a toxic byproduct produced during the processing of phosphate.

Environmental groups have concerns that injecting water into the ground could contaminate Florida's aquifer.