Nearly 90,000 gallons of industrial wastewater poured into the Redwing site in Port Tampa Bay this week
An estimated 90,000 gallons of industrial wastewater spilled Tuesday at the Redwing site at the Port of Tampa Bay, near Gibsonton, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the company involved in the spill.
DEP reported pollution advisory site this, “Heavy precipitation caused industrial wastewater to be released through contact with sulfur beads via an emergency stormwater outfall in an adjacent ditch.
For context, 100,000 gallons is about 20 5,000 gallon semi-tanks that carry things like milk, septic waste, and water.
The wastewater has come in contact with sulfur prill, a pellet-shaped elemental sulfur product used in the vulcanization of rubber, the production of asphalt, detergents, dyes, explosives, fertilizers, insecticides and other products. The prill is considered a “combustible dust” and can have dangerous and toxic effects on the body. When water comes in contact with sulfur, it can become acidic, making the water unsafe to ingest or interact with.
The report did not include the amount of sewage released, but Creative Loafing Tampa Bay contacted DEP and Logistec Gulf Coast, the company involved in the spill.
Brian Moore, senior engineer at the Logistec site, said they estimated 90,000 gallons overflowed into an overflow ditch, but there was “no way to tell exactly” how much had overflowed. He said a test of the water remaining in the ditch on Thursday showed the pH balance had returned to normal.
In an email, representatives for Logistec said that on Thursday the sewage ended up in a ditch designed to contain the overflows and 84,000 were collected by fracking trucks and pumps. Port Redwing is located between Gibsonton and Apollo Beach, on the Big Bend Canal.
The DEP told CL that on July 6, its emergency response office was notified of the sulfur bead contact water by the Florida State Watch Office and the DEP pollution notification portal.
Shannon Herbon, public information officer for the DEP, said responders in her department performed a pH test on the discharged water and determined it was not dangerous, adding that “the matter has has since been referred to the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission as this facility is within their jurisdiction. ”
Richard Tager, president of Logistec, which handles products such as sulfur, aggregates, bottom ash, sugar, salt and other bulk cargoes, says the company is working diligently with the Port of Tampa Bay and the DEP to control the incident, and that Logistec is committed to ensuring the safety, health and well-being of the surrounding inhabitants.
“This release, linked to recent frequent storms and heavy rains, including Hurricane Elsa, is actively contained and stored,” Tager wrote in an emailed statement to CL. “While the impacts to the immediate area are expected to be minimal, we continue to monitor the situation closely and are making all available efforts to contain and store the discharged residual water. “
This spill occurs the same month as 60,000 gallons of residential wastewater dumped into Hillsborough Bay and just three months after the Piney Point toxic sewage accident that spilled over 800 million gallons. Port Redwing last made the news five years ago, when a man was killed when a pile of sulfur collapsed on his front loader.
To report a known or suspected environmental concern, citizens are encouraged to submit a tip to the ministry’s Citizen Concerns portal.
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