It's been two weeks since the City of Fort Myers started to clear the land of South Street in the Dunbar Community. Crews are just one step closer to digging up the toxic sludge and transporting it to its next destination in Citrus County.
However, plans to take the sludge to a treatment plant in Crystal River might come to an abrupt halt .
In an email to HelloSWFL, Citrus County said the County Administrator is sending another letter to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection updating them on the Board of County Commissioner's questions about transportation and handling of material.
Citrus County's Board of County Commissioners firmly stated: "They do not want the transport of sludge to begin without answers to their questions and will look at legal means, (if they have to), to stop the transport while we work through the fact-finding process."
In a meeting on Oct. 9, 2018 , the County Administrator Randy Oliver said they were "verbally assured" during a conference call with representatives from the FDEP, LafargeHolcim, and other contractors working on the Dunbar cleanup, that the sludge will not move from Fort Myers to Citrus County until they know for sure the material will not cause harm to their community.
"LafargeHolcim said they did not agree to accept the material at this particular point and time," Oliver said.
After sending questions, and concerns, Oliver said Citrus County has yet to receive any responses from the City of Fort Myers. "We feel like the communication isn't the way it should be. The questions were not getting answered as well as it could be," Oliver explained.
"There was nobody on the [conference call] but they tended to indicate that Fort Myers could have done a better job," Oliver said.
Oliver went on to explain to the Board how the sludge will be transported, treated and that the sludge will be in Crystal River for at least six months before heading off to Alabama.
Commissioner Jeff Kinnard reiterated that it is important for Fort Myers to understand that Citrus County doesn't want the sludge coming to Citrus County.
"I'm a little less concerned about understanding what they're going to do with this mess as I am them understanding we don't want the stuff," Kinnard said firmly.
Kinnard is concerned about how the sludge will affect the county's drinking water. "We know there's arsenic in it. But what else is in it?"
Oliver said he was told that the sludge is "safe for processing."
In the grand scheme of things, Oliver explained that all parties on the call want full approval from the Board of County Commissioners before the Dunbar sludge is transported to Citrus County.
In its weekly update of Oct. 12, 2018 , the City of Fort Myers stated the tree removal and mulching process will continue next week. On Monday, Oct. 15, groundwater monitoring will also be collected.