Water-Related News

DEP supports Fort Myers toxic sludge clean-up, still requires testing

More than 55 years after the City of Fort Myers started dumping toxic sludge on a Dunbar-area field, it has decided to clean it up – completely removing the soil and sediment, a plan estimated to cost as much as $17 million, according to the city.

City Manager Saeed Kazemi said in a letter to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection that the city would be required to do more testing on the site only if it intended to do a partial cleanup or place a soil cap over the former dump.

But that's not the plan, according to Kazemi. "The city of Fort Myers is pursuing the complete removal of the lime sludge ...," he wrote on February 9.

Before doing that however, the city will have to submit a plan to the Florida DEP.

A letter Jon Iglehart, the department's director of district management, sent to Kazemi on Wednesday, laid out the next step in the clean-up process. The city will have to provide a notice:

  • Describing the type of contamination
  • Estimating the volume of soil and sediment to be removed
  • Proposing the methods used to dispose of what is removed.

The city's move also doesn't let it off the hook when it comes to further testing of the site and Fort Myers officials must continue to try to determine the source of the contamination in the residential neighborhood around the site.