Florida governor declares state of emergency amid fears of reservoir collapse

David MillwardSun, 4 April 2021, 8:17 pm

Piney Point Reservoir - Reuters
Piney Point Reservoir – Reuters

Hundreds of homes have been evacuated in Florida amid fears that a reservoir is on the point of collapse.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency because of the threat to people living near the Piney Point Reservoir, about 40 miles south of Tampa.

Part of the reservoir’s retaining wall has shifted, raising the prospect of a complete structural collapse which would see 600 million gallons of water gushing into the surrounding area within minutes.

Not only are more than 300 homes at risk, but a natural gas plant that provides energy to millions of households is in the flood zone.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis - Chris O'Meara/AP
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis – Chris O’Meara/AP

Mr DeSantis denied that the water was radioactive.

However, as a precaution, hundreds of bottles of water have been shipped to the area.

“‘What we are looking at now is trying to prevent and respond to, if need be, a real catastrophic flood situation,” Mr DeSantis said at a press conference after flying over the old Piney Point phosphate mine.

“The water quality issues that are flowing from this for us is less than the risk of everyone’s health and safety, particularly folks who may live in the area.”

As a precaution, workers are trying to plug breaches in the reservoir as well as pumping out thousands of gallons of water to minimise the threat.

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