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Piney Point tainted water threat grows

By Josh Salman

PALMETTO – The owners of a former phosphate processing plant here have failed to comply with several environmental mandates after millions of gallons of tainted factory water spilled into Bishop Harbor during a Port Manatee dredging project.

HRK Holdings LLC has blown by a number of state deadlines to repair hazardous conditions at its Piney Point property, a situation exacerbated by an abundance of rain this summer.

Water is quickly filling contaminated phosphate reservoirs and the emergency storage systems in place to catch untreated overflow.

If the cracked and aging systems were to fail, 525 million gallons of rainwater — the equivalent of 21,000 averaged-sized swimming pools and liquid that is potentially laden with radioactive phosphate residue — would flood into Bishop Harbor, new records reveal.