Tampa Bay Times

Tampa Bay needs help

Piney Point wastewater releases to Tampa Bay slow substantia­lly, state says | April 8

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Tampa Bay Watch is greatly concerned for the safety of our residents in Manatee and Hillsborou­gh counties and the health of Tampa Bay as a result of the industrial water discharge from the Piney Point facility. The “plume” of discharged water, containing nitrogen, phosphorou­s and ammonia, will eventually move to the open waters of Tampa Bay and create harmful algae blooms. If a catastroph­ic release of stack water occurs, the contaminan­ts will flow into eastern Bishop Harbor, part of the Terra Ceia Aquatic Preserve, resulting in significan­t environmen­tal damage to the shallow seagrass beds, oyster bars and mangroves forests.

Many of Tampa Bay Watch’s ongoing bay restoratio­n projects are located immediatel­y adjacent to Piney Point in both Terra Ceia and the Cockroach Bay aquatic preserves. We are working with our government­al and nonprofit partners to monitor conditions and impacts to these projects and to the health of Tampa Bay. For up-to-date informatio­n, visit FDEP Protecting Florida Together at protecting­floridatog­ether.gov/PineyPoint­Update.

Tampa Bay Watch urges Gov. Ron DeSantis, members of the state Legislatur­e and our congressio­nal delegation to address the longterm environmen­tal implicatio­ns of older processing facilities on the shores of Tampa Bay and throughout the state. Improvemen­ts to the Tampa Bay estuary for the benefit of marine life, residents and our economy made over the past three decades must not be lost.

Peter A. Clark, president and founder, Tampa Bay Watch

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