In late March and earlier this month, the leak at the facility in Palmetto put a wastewater reservoir in danger of collapsing. Officials pumped 270 million gallons of wastewater into Tampa Bay to prevent a critical collapse. More than 300 homes were evacuated as a precaution.
County environmental officials told commissioners during their meeting the discharge stopped a little more than two weeks ago.
"It changes every day, but it changes, I think, for the better," said Charlie Hunsicker, the county's Parks and Natural Resources director. "[The Florida Department of Environmental Protection] is assuring us that they're taking every possible step to preclude any discharge of untreated process water."
Hunsicker and County Administrator Scott Hopes said they are now keeping an eye on an algae bloom.
"There has been an algae bloom. Fortunately, as these fronts are coming through, it tends to break it up," Hopes said, referring to cold and warm weather fronts passing over Tampa Bay in the last week. "We've been fortunate, to date, that it hasn't been a substantial algae bloom and, given the fact that over a week ago discharge had ceased, so it's our hope that the environment can handle it."
During the public comment portion of Tuesday's commission meeting, neighbors discussed the impact of the situation on the community and a new concern: well water.
"This disaster has kind of broken that tranquility and caused me to be angry and disillusioned," said Skye Grundy, who lives in one of the homes closest to the facility. "I have three children, very important to me is their safety. You guys aren't going to be here in 20 years and no one has tested my well water or anybody on my street or anybody in my community."
County environmental officials tried reassuring the community the water is safe. Grundy, however, said she won't feel completely safe until her water is tested.
Meanwhile, commissioners passed a motion from Commissioner James Satcher that calls for the county to expedite and potentially pay for water testing.
"This is the water they drink," Satcher said, also pledging to try to block companies from building similar facilities in Manatee County in the future. "I understand that people need to eat and farmers need fertilizer, but not at the cost of our citizens, not at the cost of our bays, not at the cost of our beaches."