PALMETTO — Amid considerations in regards to the potential collapse of the Piney Level reservoir, Manatee County Sheriff’s officers are evacuating about 345 inmates from the county jail’s first ground.
Sheriff Rick Wells stated Sunday that shifting all of the inmates to the second ground, which was the plan county officers initially introduced, can be an excessive amount of of a safety threat. As an alternative, the jail is taking the inmates by bus to a location Wells declined to share Sunday afternoon whereas they have been nonetheless being moved.
The remaining inmates and workers on the primary ground will probably be moved to the second ground, together with medical gear. There have been 1,063 inmates in jail Sunday.
“The primary ground will probably be vacant,” Wells stated.
The Manatee County Central Jail at 14470 Harlee Highway is within the northwest nook of an evacuation zone surrounding the outdated Piney Level phosphate mine. About 300 million gallons of wastewater is threatening to breach a reservoir there and flood the encircling space after the liner supporting the construction is believed to have torn final week.
County and state officers are working to pump water out of the reservoir to scale back the amount within the occasion of a breach. The pond held about 480 million gallons final week. As of Sunday, that quantity had depleted to lower than 300 million gallons.
Wells stated the jail isn’t anticipating greater than a foot of flooding. He added that the jail has deliberate for floods earlier than throughout hurricanes.
As information unfold of the county’s preliminary plan, a small group of protesters gathered on the county’s Emergency Operations Heart to induce officers to evacuate the jail.
Florida state Rep. Michele Rayner-Goolsby, whose district contains north Manatee County, stated in an interview Sunday she feels snug with Wells’ plan.
“If his plan is definitely executed with how he defined it, I’ve no challenge with it,” the St. Petersburg Democrat stated.