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Manatee pursues disposing hazardous Piney Point wastewater into Lower Floridan Aquifer

An underground injection well to dispose of hazardous water at the closed Piney Point phosphate plant could soon be built in Manatee County.

Manatee County commissioners voted 6-1 Tuesday to recommend construction of a Class 1 injection well to the Legislature to dispose of wastewater from the Piney Point facility. The water can contain radium, heavy metals, ammonia and phosphorus.

The commission’s vote does not seal the fate of the well project, which is opposed by some environmental advocates. Rather, it commits the county to a direction on its legislative platform as guidance for other stakeholders.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection ultimately would have to approve a project, which then would have to go out for a request for proposal, according to county staff.

The well project could cost about $13 million overall. The county is expected to contribute $6 million, and state lawmakers are also considering a $6 million appropriations bill that currently is working its way through the Legislature.

“Our legislative priority is not legally binding,” County Commissioner George Kruse said. “I think what we are showing is we are serious about this, we have done our diligence, we are ready to go. This is the decision we have made in terms of how we’d like to see it done. They may go a whole different direction.”