Authorities expanded the evacuation area later on Saturday to include more homes, but said they were not planning to open shelters.
"For more than fifty years, this Central Florida mining operation has caused numerous human health and environmental disasters and incidents, including evacuations from sulfuric acid leaks, deaths of multiple employees, the release of more than 1 billion gallons of contaminated wastewater, and ongoing, regular gypsum stack and reservoir leaks from poor construction and maintenance that released heavy metals and pollutants into the region's water and soil", Fried writes.
For all of these reasons, Manatee County made finding a solution to drain the toxic water their number one priority in 2021.
Officials in Manatee county extended an evacuation zone overnight and warned Sunday that up to 340m gallons could engulf the area in "a 20ft wall of water" if they could not fix the breach at the Piney Point reservoir in the Tampa Bay area, north of Bradenton.
Manatee County officials say the latest models show that a breach at the old phosphate plant reservoir has the potential to gush out 340 million gallons of water in a matter of minutes, risking an approximately six-metre-high wall of water.
Workers have been pumping out thousands of gallons per minute at the site to bring the volume down in the event the pond bursts.
The pond where the leak was discovered contains stacks of phosphogypsum, a radioactive byproduct from manufacturing fertilizer, according to the Associated Press.
By declaring a state of emergency, funds can be released to send more pumps and cranes to the area.
DeSantis vowed to hold HRK Holdings, the owners of the property, accountable for the failure.
A significant leak at a large pond of wastewater threatened to flood roads and burst a system that stores polluted waters.
"The pond is basically salt water".
At the Sunday press conference, Hopes conceded: "This could have been resolved over two decades ago".
Hopes said he could not rule out that a full breach could destabilize the walls of the other ponds at the Piney Point site.
"This is not acceptable and it's not something we will allow to persist", he said, adding that he has ordered the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation to find a permanent fix at the site.
He referred to HRK Holdings' facilities at the Eastport Terminal facility at Piney Point near Tampa Bay, where a phosphate pilings stack containing 480 million gallons of polluted water has been failing, threatening catastrophic collapse, which would flood nearby neighborhoods and damage the Tampa Bay ecology.
There are at least 70 gypsum stacks in the U.S. and about 27 in Florida, mostly in the region of west-central Florida.