November 2022 Newsletter

25 November 2022
November 2022 Newsletter

Our friends to the south have experienced the brunt of Hurricane Ian.

CALLING ALL VOLUNTEERS!  Join us on Sunday, Dec. 11, for the Post-Ian Waterways Cleanup

After visiting Holiday Estates, a 55+ mobile home community in Englewood, it became clear that we need to help our neighbors clean up the massive amounts of debris that have made its way into the local canals so that they can feel the joy that a clean water view brings, we can help the ecosystem recover, make the canals safe to navigate again and get the trash before it makes its way down to Lemon Bay.  We can't do this alone.  We have partnered with Suncoast Aqua Ventures, Sarasota Bay Watch, and the Lemon Bay Conservancy to organize an extraordinary response to an extraordinary circumstance.  But we need YOU too!  Register today!

Our Case Against Piney Point

As far as litigation goes, the stay on the case was lifted in October.  We hope to be able to able to have our day in court soon to address our claims regarding the inadequacy of the closure plan and the unlawful discharges that violate the federal Clean Water Act.  

We have also put Manatee County on notice that if it injects hazardous waste into the aquifer, we will sue.  Manatee County is moving forward with its plan to inject water from Piney Point into the deep aquifer (known as deep well injection) without adequately assessing the levels of contamination in the water that will be discharged down the well. 

The site operator is finally seeking a stormwater discharge permit.  We have been vocal about this because the site has been discharging stormwater without a permit for years.  A permit application has recently been completed and submitted for review by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Speaking of stormwater, in July, we monitored the stormwater that regularly comes out of the Piney Point facility to find out the concentrations of nutrients being released into canals that discharge to the bay.  Here is what we found:

Piney Point Stormwater Discharge via Outfalls 001 and 003 in the Canal along Buckeye Rd




TKN (mg/L)

TP (mg/L)


























Numeric Nutrient Criteria for freshwater streams





Mean annual event flow (Source: Conceptual Closure Plan pg. 32)

  • 17.8 CFS from both Outfall 001 and 003

The average concentration of nitrogen per day 

  • 163 pounds

The average concentration of nitrogen over the six days of observed flow

We have had a lot more rain since those late July storms, which has likely sent much more nutrients to the bay.  We’ve got to do better to protect the Suncoast.  As always, you can count on us not to give up the fight to protect our local waters.

You can visit our webpage to learn more about the long list of problems we have identified in Piney Point’s inadequate closure plan

Industrial Stormwater Pollution Suit has been Settled

Concrete manufacturing facilities can be a significant source of stormwater contamination, releasing various harmful substances, including but not limited to cement, concrete, shale, clay, limestone, slate, slag, pumice, fly ash, and other pollutants. Atlantic TNG is a concrete manufacturer located in Sarasota on Myrtle Avenue.  According to the Clean Water Act, Atlantic TNG was required to operate under the Multi-Sector Generic Permit for industrial stormwater discharges. However, we found that they inadvertently released harmful pollutants into Whitaker Bayou, needed a more effective Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan, and needed to develop and implement an adequate monitoring and reporting program at their facility. In light of these violations, we filed suit against Atlantic TNG in June of 2021, which was settled last month.  We are working with a coalition of neighborhood groups within the Whitaker Bayou watershed and health and environmental organizations to learn from those most impacted how to enhance the environment in the face of pollution injustice and health disparities.

Sewage in the Aftermath of Ian

CAPTION: Sewer overflows into the Manatee River after Hurricane Ian.  

Many news outlets have reported on the high number of sewage releases caused by the 6 - 11 inches of rain received from Ian.  Sewage and stormwater into rivers and bays have caused quite an impact, from record high bacterial counts and subsequent infections to Red Tide.  Keeping mindful of these impacts is essential to stay safe after such an event.

However, these reports often miss the great need for infrastructure updates and upgrades to deal with these high rain events.  After decades of neglect, it is not a surprise that many of the utilities on the Suncoast have failing systems in the face of significant rain events.  

There is good news.  Our Sick of Sewage campaign has ushered in a new era of wastewater upgrades.  Take the City of Gulfport, for example.  Suncoast Waterkeeper and partners have recently terminated the settlement due to exemplary compliance and the high level of investment by the city to replace its aging infrastructure.  As a result, while other municipalities were discharging raw and partially treated wastewater into our surface waters after Ian, the City of Gulfport had no such spills.  In addition to the City's investment in infrastructure upgrades also provided $25,000 to the Tampa Bay Estuary Program for beneficial environmental projects.    


Suncoast Waterkeeper performs weekly sampling of local waters for enterococcus. The places we monitor are not part of the Florida Department of Health's Healthy Beaches Monitoring Program or any other agency monitoring effort. Our goal is to keep you informed about the safety of the waters you love and recreate.

We have integrated a new reporting platform, Water Reporter, on our website that allows individuals to see the trends of enterococcus in our monitored waters.   You can check it out by clicking here


In addition, we post our results to the SWIM Guide and social media.

You can find our SWIM Guide at

We also communicate our results to the Department of Health and local government.

This Tuesday is marked as a day of giving. 

There are two ways to give to Suncoast Waterkeeper.

  1. Register and attend the Post-Hurricane Ian Waterways Cleanup.
  2. Make a financial contribution to Suncoast Waterkeeper that the Flanzer Trust will match. 

Suncoast Waterkeeper dreams of expanding its efforts, becoming even more effective at what we do - protecting our waterways to advance our clean water mission for all.  87% of our budget comes from donors like you, and over 70% goes directly into programming.  Together we can protect what makes the Suncoast special, our waters.

We are hiring!

Suncoast Waterkeeper and the Healthy Pond Collaborative seek a dynamic, enthusiastic, self-starter passionate about water quality on the Suncoast. The Suncoast Waterkeeper Program Assistant is an entry-level, full- to part-time, two-year funded position with the primary responsibilities of managing and communicating quantitative and qualitative data.

Please help us find someone passionate about protecting our waters.  Find out more about this opportunity on the website -


I appreciate your support!



Abbey Tyrna, Ph.D.

Executive Director &Waterkeeper

Email: [email protected]

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