Piney Point Monitoring

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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 discharges to Lower Tampa Bay.
  • Partners throughout the region are modelling the plume trajectory and collecting water quality, benthic, seagrass, and fisheries monitoring data in an effort to monitor Tampa Bay’s response to this event.

Monitoring Partners

EPCHC logo

Monitoring Updates

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 monthly monitoring updates available below.

September Monitoring Summary

September Update

Published October 12th, 2021

April Update

Published April 29th, 2021
Piney Point Monitoring Summary - August 2021

August Update

Published Sep. 9th, 2021

May Update

Published June 4th, 2021

July Update

Published August 4th, 2021


Published April 23rd, 2021

June Update

Published July 9th, 2021

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.

View DashboardDashboard Tutorial

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.

Data-Driven Timeline

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.

VIEW TimelineDownload & Share Graphics

TBEP In the News

From March 29th to April 9th, 2021, TBEP participated in ~43 media requests from regional and non-regional publications in an effort to provide the public with updates on the Piney Point situation as it developed. These articles and video interviews are available below.
View News Publications List