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Digging Up Dunbar Toxic Sludge

5:35 PM, Nov 29, 2018

FT. MYERS — The Dunbar sludge is finally on its way out of Fort Myers.

Crews started digging at the site on South Street at 7 a.m. Thursday morning and finished around 5 p.m.

They'll do this every weekday, excluding Christmas and New Year's Day, until they finish digging up the 30,000 tons of sludge.

Dunbar Sludge on the Move

The city's original plan was to send the sludge to be treated in Citrus County. Afterward, trucks would take the treated sludge to a cement plant in Theodore, Alabama.

But the people who live in Citrus County weren't too thrilled about the idea, and they tried to put a stop to it.

For months, the county's commissioners fought with the city over the sludge. Commissioners were concerned about the health risks that came along with it.

So concerned, in fact, that they threatened to sue the city if the sludge made its way up I-75 without the approval of Florida's Department of Environmental Protection.

Thursday afternoon, commissioners received official news from FDEP that the sludge would no longer go through the county, but would go directly to the LafargeHolcim cement plant in Alabama.

HelloSWFL reached out to the City of Fort Myers and the South Street Project Manager for more details about why the transportation plan changed, but they didn't get back to us.

Once the sludge gets to Alabama, workers will mix the sludge with limestone. LafargeHolcim says the sludge and limestone have similar chemical components, so combining the two is safe.

That concoction will later be turned into cement and used for projects around the country.

To stay updated on the progress of the sludge removal, keep up with the city's website.