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Environmental Groups suing Manatee County over Piney Point wastewater injection

They intend to prevent the injection of hundreds of millions of gallons of polluted wastewater from the Piney Point phosphate plant into the underground aquifer.

A coalition of environmental groups said Wednesday they will sue Manatee County over its plans to inject polluted water from the Piney Point phosphate plant into the underground aquifer.

The notice comes after county officials said that injecting the water into the lower Floridan aquifer was the best method to remove about 273 million gallons of wastewater remaining in the gypsum stack.

“This risky, shortsighted plan would be a dangerous experiment and set a troubling precedent for how we handle failing phosphogypsum stacks,” said Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director at the Center for Biological Diversity.

More than 200 million gallons of polluted water flowed into Tampa Bay beginning in late March, after a tear was discovered in one of the stack's liners.

Manatee County commissioners had been scheduled to discuss the injection well at their Tuesday meeting, but the meeting was cancelled.

The state Department of Environmental Protection issued a draft permit on Sept. 1 to Manatee County for the deep well’s construction.

Five environmental advocacy groups are plaintiffs in the lawsuit.