Florida evacuated 345 Manatee County Central Jail inmates on Sunday, as the state prepares for a potentially 20-foot (six-meter) high flood that could wreak havoc in the area.
Sheriff Rick Wells revealed that many of the inmates from the first floor were being moved to another unnamed location, while the rest were being moved to the jail’s second floor in anticipation of the potential collapse of the nearby Piney Point Reservoir, which has been leaking water at an alarming rate.
According to reports, 300 million gallons of wastewater could destroy the surrounding area if authorities are not able to fix the reservoir.
Florida State Representative Michele Rayner-Goolsby said on Sunday that she had “spoken with Sheriff Wells and he has assured there is a plan in place to make sure inmates at the jail are protected and evacuated safely.”
“As [soon as] I am able to share the full plan, I will. But know – I am good with the plan,” she assured concerned Floridians.
Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis called a state of emergency on Saturday for what he warned could be a “real catastrophic flood situation,” and hundreds of homes have been evacuated in preparation for the worst, though workers are currently pumping out 33 million gallons of water a day in an effort to stop the collapse.
The reservoir is a mix of salt water, waste, and storm water according to Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection, and is reportedly not toxic.
Though it sits on top of “radioactive byproduct,” officials say the water itself is not radioactive.
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