Health: The Threat of Water Pollution from Piney Point

The Story:

Officials in the state of Florida are concerned about the reservoirs at the old Piney Point fertilizer plant, and they’re trying to get an independent receiver appointed to oversee the site. A leak from one of the reservoirs earlier this year led to polluted waste entering Tampa Bay and to the evacuation of homes near the site.


In 1966, Borden Chemical opened an industrial plant on the Piney Point site in Manatee County, in order to process phosphate, which is a key ingredient in artificial fertilizer. The property changed hand several times until 1991, when disaster struck. Sulfur dioxide and sulfur trioxide were both released into the air in large quantities: three workers died and 30 people in the area became ill.

The present owner of the site is HRK Holdings.

In Pill Form:

The state is now concerned that the hurricane and rainy seasons have begun. At this time of year, flooding in the Piney Point area is a reasonable concern. Such flooding, if it does happen, could cause the overtopping of the ponds at the site, and the outward flow of polluted water would constitute what he Florida Department of Environmental Protection calls an “imminent threat to public health and safety.”


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