Millions of gallons of water laced with fertilizer ingredients are being pumped into Florida's Tampa Bay from a leaking reservoir at an abandoned phosphate plant at Piney Point. As the water spreads into the bay, it carries phosphorus and nitrogen—nutrients that under the right conditions can fuel dangerous algae blooms that can suffocate sea grass beds and kill fish, dolphins and manatees.
It's the kind of risk no one wants to see, but officials believed the other options were worse.
About 300 homes sit downstream from the 480-million-gallon reservoir, which began leaking in late March 2021. State officials determined that pumping out the water was the only way to prevent the reservoir's walls from collapsing. They decided the safest location for all that water would be out through Port Manatee and into the bay.
1.) Jeff C. Ho, Anna M. Michalak, Nima Pahlevan. Widespread global increase in intense lake phytoplankton blooms since the 1980s, Nature (DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1648-7)
2.) James W. Fourqurean, Carlos M. Duarte, Hilary Kennedy, et al. Seagrass ecosystems as a globally significant carbon stock, Nature Geoscience (DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1477)
3.) Janine Lemaire, Bénédicte Sisto, Hamilton Disston, et al. The Everglades Ecosystem: Under Protection or Under Threat?, Miranda. Revue pluridisciplinaire du monde anglophone / Multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal on the English-speaking world (DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/miranda.2881)
4.) Brian E. Lapointe, Rachel A. Brewton, Laura W. Herren, et al. Nitrogen enrichment, altered stoichiometry, and coral reef decline at Looe Key, Florida Keys, USA: a 3-decade study, Marine Biology (DOI: 10.1007/s00227-019-3538-9)