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posted by mrpg on Saturday April 10, @12:00AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the could dept.

Water being pumped into Tampa Bay could cause a massive algae bloom:

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.

Journal References:
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)


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  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @12:05AM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @12:05AM (#1135544)

    How can you tell the difference between a manatee and a typical lard-ass American in a Speedo?

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @12:11AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @12:11AM (#1135545)

      The manatee doesn't blame its appearance on hormone problems.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @12:44AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @12:44AM (#1135563)

      Manatees are too dignified to wear speedo.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @12:56AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @12:56AM (#1135569)

      a typical lard-ass American in a Speedo can't dive.

      • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @03:04AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @03:04AM (#1135599)

        The manatees are sexier.

  • (Score: 0, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @12:40AM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @12:40AM (#1135560)

    Japan is gonna dump the fukushima radioactive water into pacific.

    Godzilla time, baby.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @01:08AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @01:08AM (#1135573)

      The IAEA has backed the Japanese government's plan to dispose of the water, saying releasing it into the sea meets global standards of practice in the nuclear industry.

      The Geneva-based body's Director General Rafael Grossi, during his visit to the Fukushima complex in February, said it is a common way to release water at nuclear power plants, even when they are not in emergency situations.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @01:35AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @01:35AM (#1135578)

        Why do you hate godzilla?

    • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Saturday April 10, @02:24PM (2 children)

      by PiMuNu (3823) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 10, @02:24PM (#1135679)

      > radioactive water

      Just out of interest, what radioisotopes are in the water and what is the level of activity?

      • (Score: 2) by ElizabethGreene on Saturday April 10, @02:40PM (1 child)

        by ElizabethGreene (6748) on Saturday April 10, @02:40PM (#1135683)

        Tritium, half life 12.32 years. The story I read said they will dilute it to https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/japan-comes-clean-admits-dumping-fukushima-radioactive-water-pacific-ocean-now
        They did not indicate a source for the 2.5% claim.

        • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Sunday April 11, @03:01PM

          by PiMuNu (3823) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 11, @03:01PM (#1136025)

          Thanks for the response.

          > dilute tritium to 2.5 percent of the maximum concentration allowed by the country

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritium [wikipedia.org]

          Just to make it clear, 2.5 per cent of the legal limit is pretty tame. Using the numbers in the wikipedia article, the dose from such water would be a small fraction of background radiation; and Tritium half life is 12 years so even this small amount will quite literally disappear in a few years,

  • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Saturday April 10, @12:47AM (11 children)

    by fustakrakich (6150) on Saturday April 10, @12:47AM (#1135565) Journal

    Kill the virus too

    So who allowed these people to "abandon" this phosphate plant? What kind of bullshit is that?

    --
    Ok, we paid the ransom. Do I get my dog back? REDЯUM
    • (Score: 5, Touché) by c0lo on Saturday April 10, @12:56AM (8 children)

      by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 10, @12:56AM (#1135570) Journal

      Why do you hate capitalism?

      --
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @03:28AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @03:28AM (#1135602)

        We don't. We just hate YOU!

        • (Score: 3, Touché) by c0lo on Saturday April 10, @04:46AM

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 10, @04:46AM (#1135612) Journal

          Atta boy!
          Now shoot your other foot too, this will make me sad I'm sharing this world with idiots.
          Come on, I know you want to. What's a little pain to you when you can make a leftie sad for 10 mins?

          --
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
      • (Score: 2) by SpockLogic on Saturday April 10, @03:43AM (5 children)

        by SpockLogic (2762) on Saturday April 10, @03:43AM (#1135605)

        Capitalize Profits and Socialize Losses, it's the GOP way.

        Oh, and the Florida governor, Ron ignore the science and let the people die DeSantis, is not fit to be Dog Catcher.

        --
        Overreacting is one thing, sticking your head up your ass hoping the problem goes away is another - edIII
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @04:56AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @04:56AM (#1135614)

          Capitalize Profits and Socialize Losses, it's the GOP way.

          Such a righteous sense!
          Commendable, indeed [commondreams.org] (read all or at least to "5. Superdelegate Garbage" included)

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @08:08PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @08:08PM (#1135779)

          Start getting used to "President DeSantis".

          Or VP, if we reelect Trump. That's even better. Naw, let's do both. DeSantis gets 4 years as VP, then 8 as president. Trump could be VP then.

          • (Score: 2) by kazzie on Sunday April 11, @06:00AM

            by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 11, @06:00AM (#1135953)

            This is probably the wrong post to give a serious reply to, but...

            Would Trump even consider running for VP? He strikes me as an individual who doesn't want to play second fiddle or junior partner.

          • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Sunday April 11, @11:23PM

            by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 11, @11:23PM (#1136160) Journal

            Start getting used to "President DeSantis".

            You mean... Florida will secede?

            --
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Monday April 12, @01:37AM

          by PartTimeZombie (4827) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 12, @01:37AM (#1136211)

          ...it's the GOP way.

          Fair's fair. It has nothing to do with the republicans specifically, it's a general principle of capitalism.

    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Saturday April 10, @06:53PM (1 child)

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 10, @06:53PM (#1135755)

      So who allowed these people to "abandon" this phosphate plant?

      A federal judge stole the plant and ordered the deputies to remove the people from the property, after the company helped out the port authority.

      From wikipedia: "HRK Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2012 citing expenses from the leak the previous year, when HRK had allowed the Manatee County Port Authority to store materials in the property's reservoirs from the dredging of Port Manatee's Berth 12 expansion"

      Sometimes you make money off big brother, sometimes you lose your company in a deal with the devil.

      • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Saturday April 10, @08:52PM

        by fustakrakich (6150) on Saturday April 10, @08:52PM (#1135800) Journal

        Why was bankruptcy allowed without seizing sufficient assets and accounts to pay for cleanup? Give the CEO a spoon, here, bag it! Serious corruption that nobody will pay for, that's too bad... eh, just another day. Maybe they collect the algae and make bio-fuel

        --
        Ok, we paid the ransom. Do I get my dog back? REDЯUM
  • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by js290 on Saturday April 10, @01:22AM (4 children)

    by js290 (14148) on Saturday April 10, @01:22AM (#1135574)
    • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Saturday April 10, @01:57AM (3 children)

      by fustakrakich (6150) on Saturday April 10, @01:57AM (#1135584) Journal

      Those kinds of links are very suspicious. Cough up the real thing, babe

      --
      Ok, we paid the ransom. Do I get my dog back? REDЯUM
      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @02:23AM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @02:23AM (#1135587)

        My scanner says that bit.ly link has changed destinations. Both were youtube videos, but they were different ones with different timestamps.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Saturday April 10, @02:46AM (1 child)

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 10, @02:46AM (#1135593) Homepage Journal

          bit.ly sucks. I'd rather have an ugly URL three lines long. Or course Youtube URLs aren't even long ugly URLs.

          --
          "Trust the science" -- Tony Fauci and his army of psycophants
          • (Score: 3, Informative) by Booga1 on Saturday April 10, @05:53AM

            by Booga1 (6333) on Saturday April 10, @05:53AM (#1135620)

            All of them suck, so much so that some sites have taken to banning URL shorteners.
            You can hide anything you want behind them and quite a few of them let you change the destination at any time. The idea was useful, but these days they are potential poison pills.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Saturday April 10, @02:59AM (5 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 10, @02:59AM (#1135597) Homepage Journal

    Bacteria and stuff have a population explosion when placed into an environment they like. They expand, until they've consumed all the good stuff, and/or poisoned the environment. When there are no more resources, and/or the environment is too toxic to live in, they stop growing.

    That's us.

    --
    "Trust the science" -- Tony Fauci and his army of psycophants
    • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Saturday April 10, @03:03PM

      by mhajicek (51) on Saturday April 10, @03:03PM (#1135690)

      That's life.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @04:38PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @04:38PM (#1135715)

      In the meantime, the bloom kills off everything that was supposed to be there and as a result you get toxic water and a foothold for invasive species to get in. Just because the bacteria won't keep growing until they outweigh the earth doesn't mean this isn't a substantial problem that will cause issues for years to come.

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Sunday April 11, @12:11AM (2 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 11, @12:11AM (#1135852) Homepage Journal

        That's just human nature though!

        --
        "Trust the science" -- Tony Fauci and his army of psycophants
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11, @04:13AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11, @04:13AM (#1135922)

          No, it's really not. It's the nature of psychopaths to do that kind of thing. Most humans do a better job of it when they can. We devised entire systems of governance to keep that kind of thing to a minimum.

          • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Sunday April 11, @04:17AM

            by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday April 11, @04:17AM (#1135925) Homepage Journal

            Tell that to the mastodons. Their opinion of humans might differ with your own. You might also get the opinions of some neanderthal men and women. Don't forget the denisovans.

            --
            "Trust the science" -- Tony Fauci and his army of psycophants
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by shortscreen on Saturday April 10, @07:15AM (6 children)

    by shortscreen (2252) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 10, @07:15AM (#1135636) Journal

    Is there something else in there that prevents it from being useful for its original purpose as fertilizer? Maybe they couldn't find an alternative to pumping it into the sea on short notice, but in the meantime why not also queue up some tanker trucks to capture some of that free Brawndo and take it to farms?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @09:16AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @09:16AM (#1135643)

      Sure just ask the industrial farming conglomerate to collect ihe free phosphorus it dumped hampered onto its sickly crops for the past 40 years. And you can collect free methane from my butt crack by following me around with a balloon.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by fliptop on Saturday April 10, @10:10AM (2 children)

      by fliptop (1666) on Saturday April 10, @10:10AM (#1135646) Journal

      Is there something else in there that prevents it from being useful for its original purpose as fertilizer?

      I worked at Cargill when in college and they have a fertilizer plant in Riverview, which is a bit north of where this leak is happening. If the Piney Point plant is similar, I'd guess the water was used to slurry the gypsum waste over to the stack and the pH of the water is probably somewhere near 1. It kills everything it touches.

      Back in the day (1920's or thereabouts) they used to pump the waste gypsum directly into the bay. After it started getting to be too much they pumped it onto a stack that sits next to the plant. The old stack at Cargill is about 450 acres at its base and is 200 feet high. You can see the stack across Hillsborough bay from Tampa. They closed it in the late 80's and started a new stack that's a bit more inland (the old one sits directly next to the bay). The closed stack is capped w/ a thick rubber membrane and there's a toe drain that's dug around the base. All the water that runs off the stack and collects in the toe drain is pumped into holding ponds and used to slurry the waste gypsum over to the new stack. The new stack has open ponds on it and next to it [goo.gl] (in that view the closed stack is on the left and the open ponds are dark green). I'm not sure of the protocols in place at the Piney Point plant (since it's no longer in operation) to monitor and maintain the pond dikes' integrity, but I do know that whole area of Florida, from the West coast inland as far as Bartow is dotted w/ facilities that mine the phosphate rock and process it into fertilizer.

      --
      It's crackers to slip a rozzer the dropsy in snide.
      • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @12:21PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @12:21PM (#1135665)

        the pH of the water is probably somewhere near 1. It kills everything it touches.

        We should set up a pipeline to Washington, D.C. Forget draining the swamp, we'll just make it unlivable!

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @05:58PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @05:58PM (#1135744)

          As resident of the DC suburbs, I can assure you the Democrats are doing their best right now to make it unlivable. Quality of life is being destroyed by ridiculous decrees. Education and criminal control (much more effective than "gun control") are being destroyed right now by insane policies.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @03:45PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @03:45PM (#1135698)

      Potassium is the third element in the fertilizer triad, but the stuff here isn't being recovered for the same reason the plant is abandoned: it is no longer economically viable to do so.

    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Saturday April 10, @06:42PM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Saturday April 10, @06:42PM (#1135753)

      There are multiple standard DOT tanker car styles and they are built to a specific gravity standard and if you fill a low density oil tank car with pure distilled water that'll overweight it by 20% and it "might" fail. Certainly if it as much as leaks one drop they'll be infinite legal issues if you put high density fluids in a low density car.

      Anyway to one sig fig figure 25K gallons and 250K pounds per tank car.

      So figure it would only take 19200 tank cars. Again a shitty one sig fig engineering estimate is the USA has about 1e4 of each density of tank car and maybe 1e5 total tank cars so its possible in theory.

      Something to think about is 20K tank cars at maybe 50 feet each would be a train 200 miles long. Not that you'd make one train, but its a logistical fact if you want to transfer all that in two days you'd have to average about 5 mph continuous in the pumping yard just to have 20K cars pass by a fixed position in only two days. Tricky! Maybe possible but probably not.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @04:54PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 10, @04:54PM (#1135724)

    Most news reports have stopped mentioning the radioactive gypsum that is also contained in the same leaking pond.

    See https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/apr/03/florida-emergency-piney-point-phosphate-plant-pond-leak-radioactive-flood-ron-desantis [theguardian.com]

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11, @10:25PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 11, @10:25PM (#1136148)

    If there are toxic by products of their processes the manufacturers should be required by law to process that waste safely. Not burying it in the ground, not stacking it in tanks for years, not diluting it to a "safe" level to dump in the local water supply, etc. We can't have toxic stockpiles sitting around for decades and then the company just declares bankruptcy to get out of cleaning it up. That way the companies would learn to make a more sustainable product out of natural materials.

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