For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Seth Gladstone—, 917.363.6615

Tampa Bay Wastewater Crisis Demands Federal Action

WASHINGTON - Over the weekend, Florida Gov. DeSantis issued a State of Emergency regarding the imminent collapse of a Piney Point wastewater reservoir. Used to store phosphogypsum, a radioactive waste product from industrial phosphorus mining in the area, a full collapse could result in catastrophic flooding in Manatee County and dangerous levels of metals and radioactive material in the Tampa Bay public water supply. The reservoir sits atop the Floridan aquifer, which provides drinking water to 10 million residents.

Florida’s Legislature has long been slow to act on environmental matters and has a track record of supporting industry at the expense of public health and safety. With dangerous wastewater discharges from this facility dating back to the 1970s, the ongoing emergency was predictable. Federal oversight is needed to clean up this dangerous phosphogypsum stack and the 23 other stacks in Florida to avoid further contamination of our drinking water and ban the practice of phosphate mining altogether. Additionally, Congress must pass the WATER Act infrastructure package to upgrade water infrastructure for the Tampa Bay region and ensure safe drinking water.


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In response, Food & Water Watch Regional Deputy Director Michelle Allen issued the following statement:

“As calls for evacuation in Tampa Bay mount, we are echoing and amplifying the demand for federal intervention in this toxic crisis. The public’s right to clean, safe and affordable water is threatened by legislators more concerned with industry funding than the safety of their constituents. This crisis is a perfect storm, caused by legislative inaction and corporate power. President Biden and Congress must act to clean up this dangerous phosphogypsum stack, ban phosphate mining and pass the WATER Act to upgrade water systems nationwide and protect the public’s right to safe water.”


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Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.

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