THE ABANDONED PINEY POINT PHOSPHATE PLANT: DOES IT POSE A THREAT TO TAMPA BAY AND THE GULF OF MEXICO?

06/03/03

Two years ago the Mulberry Phosphate Plant went bankrupt -leaving taxpayers holding the bag for environmental cleanup at the company’s Piney Point phosphogypsum waste stack. The stack is nearly overflowing and contains a billion gallons of highly acidic wastewater. State environmental officials fear that if we get heavy rains this summer the plant will overflow - spilling millions of gallons of untreated wastewater into Tampa Bay. The Piney Point Plant is located south of Sun City Center and north of Rubonia, near the southeastern shore of Tampa Bay. State officials have a plan to begin removing the wastewater and dumping it in the Gulf of Mexico. At one point the state wanted to load wastewater into barges and dump it just forty miles off the Gulf Coas, but many people objected: environmentalists, sponge fishers and a commercial fishermens' group. Our guest was Bobby Spaeth, executive director of the Southern Offshore Fishing Association based in Treasure Island. Spaeth's organization is advocating that the wastewater be dumped no closer than 100 miles offshore.

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