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corner of content windowHurricane Frances News
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  September 5, 2004

CONTACT: Russell Schweiss, (850) 519-4656

Storm Conditions Call for Controlled Release at Cargill Phosphate Facility

-Precautions taken to minimize environmental impact-

RIVERVIEW Tropical weather conditions and heavy rainfall today led Cargill Phosphate to begin controlled releases of process water from its Riverview facility in Hillsborough County. Millions of gallons of wastewater is being held in a stormwater storage pond before emergency treatment and discharge to nearby Archie Creek, which flows into Tampa Bay.

Earlier today, heavy rains and high winds from Hurricane Frances caused a breach in the top margin of a gypsum stack dike at the Cargill facility. Water released because of the dike breach is being emptied into a storage area with the capacity to hold 24 million gallons of water. Officials are working quickly to minimize potential environmental impacts.

Cargill is treating process water with caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) to reduce acidity and help remove metals, phosphorus and some fluoride before discharge to Archie Creek. Company engineers anticipate the need to discharge up to 120 million gallons of partially treated water. To prevent a spill, the phosphate company may be forced to release untreated water should the breach widen and cause conditions at the site to deteriorate.

The Department of Environmental Protection is overseeing the emergency operations at Cargill. Water testing will take place as soon as dangerous weather conditions subside. At this time, the discharge is not expected to impact residential areas or threaten public safety.

Phosphate facilities in the area began preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Frances earlier in the week. Facilities reduced water levels to increase storage capacity from expected rains and are monitoring pond levels and dike stability.

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04-231

Last updated: July 08, 2005

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