Manatee County faces legal action over Piney Point deep injection well


The well will take the remaining sewage inside the Piney Point Reservoir and plunge it 3,000 feet underground.

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida – Manatee County could face a lawsuit over its decision to send leftover sewage from the former Piney Point phosphate treatment plant thousands of feet underground.

The trial filed by environmental groups accuses county commissioners of endangering human health and the environment by disposing of waste in the Florida aquifer.

The more than $ 9 million project was approved in April. It will take the remaining sewage inside the Piney Point Reservoir and plunge it 3000 feet underground. At the time it was proposed, the Commissioners expressed concerns about the possible injection, but felt that few options were left on the table.

RELATED: A Deep Injection Well Seems To Be The Solution For The Piney Point Reservoir, But What Exactly Is It?

Deep injection wells became widely used in the 1930s, when oil companies were looking for ways to remove brine. Twenty years later, chemical companies jumped into the action of the well, sending industrial waste to a deep grave, as this has proven to be an inexpensive and relatively safe way to dispose of hazardous byproducts.

Federal officials insist that deep injection wells pose very little risk to the groundwater above them. However, there have been several cases of well failure and sewage seepage. One such case has happened here in Florida.

In the 1990s, in Miami-Dade County, dozens of drain wells failed, releasing sewage into aquifers that could have been used to provide drinking water to Miami in the future.

A survey conducted in 2012 by ProPublica revealed that at the time, more than 200,000 well inspections revealed that structural failures were common. Between 2007 and 2010, more than 17,000 integrity violations were reported nationwide.

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