University of Florida professor thinks Piney Point Reservoir-like leak unlikely in Gainesville

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Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 5:18 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - One University of Florida assistant professor gave his opinion on the ongoing leak of the Piney Point Reservoir in Manatee County.

As of right now to mitigate a potentially catastrophic burst that could cause a near 20ft wall of water descending on over 300 homes south of the site, The National Guard has flown in pumps to move the water into Tampa Bay.

Dr. AJ Reisinger, an assistant professor of Urban Soil and Water Sciences at UF, thinks that this wastewater could cause awful environmental effects in the bay.

“And so the waters that they are pumping have really high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus, which have negative water quality implications for the bay due to potential for fueling red tide events as well as other algal growths and algal blooms and potential fish kills and human health implications,” said Reisinger.

RELATED STORY: Leak at wastewater pond prompts evacuations in Manatee County

When asked if something like this could happen in Gainesville, Reisinger said that it is possible but highly unlikely.

“Those facilities are very well maintained and very well operated, so this is not something I would ever expect to happen, but the wastewater treatment plant would have similarly high levels of nutrients and pollutants and could then make their way into surface waters or groundwater,” said Reisinger.

Reisinger also says that he does not envy the decisions being made by his colleagues in that part of the state.

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