Florida Gov. Ron Desantis said experts are trying to prevent the sewage pond from breaking through to avoid “catastrophic flooding.”
Manati County officials said the latest estimates suggest that a breakthrough in an old reservoir from a phosphate plant in the Tampa Bay area could release 1.3 million cubic meters of water in minutes, potentially causing a 6-meter-high flood.
Authorities said 316 residential buildings had been evacuated.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection said the pond water is a mixture of salt and treated water, but is not expected to be toxic.