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Phase one of Piney Point closure begins

The plan to close down the former Piney Point facility for good started Monday. The plan is expected to take years to complete.

MANATEE COUNTY – In March of this year, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection approved the conceptual closure plan prepared by the site's court-appointed receiver — a huge milestone in the state's journey to close its chapter on the wastewater emergency and its lasting effects.

In March 2021, a tear in one of the former Piney Point facility's reservoirs caused concern over a potential collapse. In order to prevent a crisis, crews discharged more than 200-million gallons of untreated wastewater into Tampa Bay.

The first phase of the closure plan involves stockpiling dirt to close the gypsum stacks. Right now they’re reshaping one of the stacks, so it drains to the west into the storm water management program. Once that's complete, topsoil and vegetation will be added. It’s a process that needs to be completed in a timely manner.