Piney Point Crisis

Tampa Bay Waterkeeper has been working closely with Suncoast Waterkeeper in bringing attention to the Piney Point situation.

On April 5th at 8PM an emergency meeting of the Suncoast Waterkeeper and Tampa Bay Waterkeeper boards was held to discuss the Piney Point/HRK emergency discharge into the waters of the Tampa Bay Estuary.

On April 7th, we released a joint press release with Suncoast Waterkeeper on the call for action on phosphogypsum stacks endangering the coastal habitats in Florida. Included were 9 points that we are demanding from the Governor and Legislature.

Resources and More Information

For the latest news on Piney Point, please follow our Facebook page.

For news articles please visit our Piney Point news section.

Suncoast Waterkeeper has also been posting our latest actions and position on their page, along with some frequently asked questions.

The Tampa Bay Times has a nice FAQ write-up as well.

What is Phosphogypsum?

Phosphogypsum is the radioactive waste from processing phosphate ore into phosphoric acid which is predominantly used in fertilizer. In addition to radioactive materials, phosphogypsum and process wastewater can also contain carcinogens and toxic heavy metals like antimony, ar senic, barium, cadmium, chromium, copper, fluoride, lead, mercury, nickel, silver, sulfur, thal lium, and zinc.

Phosphogypsum is stored in piles stacked hundreds of acres wide and hundreds of feet tall. More than 1 billion tons are already stored in 25 stacks in Florida. Phosphogypsum also threat ens low-wealth communities in Arkansas, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Mis souri, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.

Is Phosphogypsum Safe?

The EPA has determined that phosphogypsum poses a cancer risk from its radon emissions. Major sinkholes in phosphogypsum stacks have released millions of gallons of process wastewater and an undetermined amount of phosphogypsum into the Floridan aquifer. EPA has declared a Mississippi fertilizer plant and phosphogypsum stack system a Superfund site, and a phos phogypsum stack in Louisiana has been moving laterally since January 2019, putting surround ing communities and farms at risk.

What does the petition ask the EPA to do?

1. Reverse an earlier determination to exclude phosphogypsum from regulation; 2. Regulate the safe treatment, storage and disposal of phosphogypsum as hazardous waste; 3. Designate phosphogypsum a high-priority substance for risk evaluation;

4. Require manufacturers to conduct testing on phosphogypsum and process wastewater; and 5. Determine that the use of phosphogypsum in road construction is a significant new use that requires a determination on whether it is safe.

What can I do?

Sign the petition urging the EPA to step up and protect public health and the environment from phosphogypsum. Contact your elected officials to ask them to ensure that the EPA takes action on the petition to protect human health and the environment.