What is Piney Point?
- Piney Point is the site of a former phosphate processing plant located on 676 acres of land in northern Manatee County, Florida near the coastline of lower Tampa Bay.
- First built in 1966, the plant produced fertilizer for decades until it was abandoned in 2001, leaving in place phosphogypsum stacks holding millions of gallons of wastewater.
- Phosphogypsum is a byproduct of the phosphate mining process and can be toxic to both humans and the environment.
- An emergency release of contaminated water from the aging stacks into Tampa Bay has occurred numerous times over the years. Nuisance and harmful algal blooms have usually followed these events.
Regional Response and Monitoring Plan
- From March 30th to April 9th, 2021 approximately 215 million gallons of wastewater from Piney Point were released into Tampa Bay.
- The Tampa Bay Estuary Program mobilized a coordinated environmental monitoring response to understand conditions immediately prior to, during, and after the onset of the initial discharge into Lower Tampa Bay.
- Partners initially modeled the plume trajectory and collected water quality, benthic, seagrass, and fisheries monitoring data in an effort to monitor Tampa Bay’s response to this event.
- Subsequent to the 2021 discharges, additional stormwater releases began on August 13, 2022. TBEP and its partners continue to monitor ecological conditions adjacent to the site to determine any longer-term changes.
Since April 12th, 2021, regional partners involved in the environmental monitoring of Piney Point have met regularly to share information and plan their monitoring efforts. The TBEP has been using this information to publish the monitoring updates available below.
Piney Point Environmental Monitoring Dashboard
A synthesis of data that can be used to assess baseline conditions prior to discharge and to evaluate changing water quality conditions as new data become available. All data are provisional and subject to revision.
Forum on Red Tide and Harmful Algae Blooms (July 23rd, 2021)
Hosted by the Suncoast Waterkeeper and Tampa Bay Waterkeeper, this scientific forum invited the Executive Directors of both the Tampa Bay and Sarasota Bay Estuary Programs to provide updates and answer questions regarding the cause, effect and solution of the region’s recent red tide bloom.
Piney Point, Red Tide & Tampa Bay: A Data-Driven Timeline of events dating back to the initial discharge on March 30th, 2021. View, download and/or share these graphics below.
Piney Point in the News
TBEP has been actively responding to and participating in press inquiries regarding Piney Point since its initial discharge in 2021. Find relevant articles and video interviews by visiting our “In The News” web page.