Manati County, Florida is in a state of emergency as a toxic wastewater reservoir is on the verge of collapse.
Hundreds of families were ordered evacuated Saturday after authorities warned that homes could be submerged in 15 to 20 feet of water if the Pine Point Reservoir, 40 miles south of Tampa, collapses.
Government spokesman Ron Desantis told a news conference on Sunday that the group was working to prevent a “real catastrophic flood situation.”
The reservoir contains a mixture of salt water, fresh water and fertilizer. Desantis clarified Sunday that water is not radioactive and that it may be after anxiety.
A portion of the retaining wall of the reservoir was moved sideways, meaning a total structural collapse is possible, Manatee County Public Safety officials said. If that happens, they said, 600 million gallons of water could leave the retention tank in a matter of minutes.
The natural gas plant, which supplies energy to millions of people in the region, is also in the flood zone, which is of additional concern.
The crews are now working to get the water out of the reservoir as quickly as possible, but that could take more than a week.
The governor said officials were preparing for a full breach, but hoped it would not happen.