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Wastewater from Piney Point released into Tampa Bay following leak at phosphogypsum stack

Millions of gallons of industrial wastewater from the former Piney Point fertilizer processing plant is being released into Tampa Bay in response to the facility’s second leak in a decade.

The wastewater is about as acidic as black coffee and contains elevated levels of phosphate and nitrogen, which can feed the algae that causes red tide.

The total amount of wastewater that will be released is not final, but it could be as much as 400 million gallons.

The release is permitted by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection under an emergency order issued on Monday to prevent “a catastrophic release of large amounts of seawater, mixed process water, and embankment materials” from one of the phosphogypsum stacks that has started leaking at the Piney Point facility, which is currently owned by HRK Holdings.