Public shares thoughts on draft permit for Manatee County Utilities’ Piney Point site

Manatee County

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Dozens of people attended a public meeting in Manatee County Wednesday to learn about what the county is trying to do with millions of gallons of wastewater at the Piney Point Reservoir Site.

Manatee County applied for a permit (UIC Permit No. 0322708-002-UC/1I, WACS Facility ID: 101607) to inject the contaminated water deep underground. County administrator Doctor Scott Hopes says they’re looking at about 600 million gallons of water at the site.

“All of the consultants, engineers, scientists and DEP believe this is the most effective way to de-water Piney Point so they can close it,” Hopes said. “Manatee County didn’t create this problem, this is a private company that’s now in receivership and this is the state regulatory body working collaboratively to help bring an end to right that final chapter to Piney Point so we don’t have to talk about it anymore.”

The county needs the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to issue the final permit.

The DEP says they share the same concerns that people may have, but the goal is to make sure this site gets closed.

“Both the public’s concerns and the department’s review of our regulations go hand in hand to make sure we have an answer that once and for all takes care of the conditions at the Piney Point site,” Program Manager John Coates said.

Dr. Doreen DuPont lives on Long Boat Key. She says the town buys its drinking water from Manatee County, so she’s followed the Piney Point situation closely.

“They have to find another alternative, how to dispose of that waste,” DuPont said. “I’m really concerned about our water.”

While some are against this plan, others say as long as the wells are under their drinking water, they’re not opposed.

“If that’s the case and science supports that it’s not going to be a big deal then I’m not overly concerned about it,” Earl Wright said.

Dr. Hopes says they originally had their eyes on late fall to start using the well. They’re now hoping by the summertime they can start receiving that process water, pre-treating it and injecting it.

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