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FL State Senators Consider Adding $200M Towards Piney Point Cleanup

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - State senators are currently considering a budget amendment that would cleanup and close the stacks at Piney Point in Manatee County.

Juneteenth at Mozley Park
(Credit: Maria Boynton/CBS Local)

If passed, the new budget amendment could put up to $200 million towards the cleanup of Piney Point to avoid another leak from occurring.

Manatee County resident, Nanette Eubanks, says "We grew up playing on the Bay. My children grew up playing on the Bay."

Eubanks has lived near Port Manatee for 47 years and while she was not in the evacuation zone over the weekend, she lives very close to the Piney Point Reservoir. She questioned, "I was very scared and very concerned. We all were, 'What if it broke? What would happen?'"

Now that officials say they have control over the water flowing from the reservoir into Tampa Bay, there's a new focus.

"The fish. The living creatures in the water. We live in such a beautiful area," said Eubanks. Millions of gallons of bright green wastewater now pours into Tampa Bay and subsequently the Gulf of Mexico. She says "between last night and this morning, there's a green film on top of the water by the port."

According the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the water leaking is not radioactive. Instead, the water quality meets marine water standards with the exception of PH, total phosphorus, total nitrogen, and total ammonia-nitrogen. The department also says the water is a slightly acidic.

Now, an amendment to put $200 million dollars towards Piney Point cleanup is being considered.

Florida State Senator Jim Boyd is sponsoring the amendment and is working with Florida State Senate President Wilton Simpson. Boyd said in a statement: "This is exactly the kind of longstanding infrastructure issue we need to address with the federal funds our state will receive from the American Rescue Plan."

"This doesn't only affect my little part of the world. This affects Tampa Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, the west coast of Florida. This is not just a local community problem. This is everybody's problem and people need to wake up," said Eubanks.

The amendment could be added when the legislature finalizes the fiscal year budget by late April 2021.

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