Members of the Dunbar community are starting to feel hopeful now that their toxic sludge case is finally being heard.
On Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018, attorneys from the City of Fort Myers and the legal team representing the Dunbar community appeared before Federal Magistrate Judge Carol Mirando.
Judge Mirando gave both parties the option to either come to an agreement out of court or go to trial on Dec. 7, 2019, which could last for at least 10 days.
Now that mediation is underway, residents Robert Owens, and Ricky Rodgers said it appears that things are finally moving in the right direction.
“I feel pretty good that we got this far,” said Ricky.
“Now maybe someone will listen,” Robert concurred. “I’m hoping this comes out well.”
In its “ South Street Lime Residual Clean Up ” report, dated July 30, 2018, the City of Fort Myers listed three options to take care of the toxic sludge.
Option 1: Remove the lime sludge and create a stormwater pond and park. The city would monitor groundwater every month during the removal process.
The cost: $4,640,020.00
Option 2: Remove the lime sludge and “backfill” the site for development.
The cost: $5,309,260.00
Option 3 : Leave the lime sludge alone and place 2ft of clean soil on top of the site. The property would be redeveloped as a park and the city will monitor the groundwater for toxins every year
The cost: $567,340 plus an additional $27,500 every year to monitor the groundwater annually.
In the report, the city staff recommends that Option 1 will be the best solution for the Dunbar community for several reasons:
- Removing the sludge will “eliminate future public concerns”
- Alleviate flooding in the neighborhood
- A neighborhood park will increase property values
- The park will have a water quality feature that will improve the surface water discharges into Billy Creek.
The legal team that represents the residents of Dunbar, were unavailable for comment.
The city of Fort Myers did not respond to HelloSWFL’s request for comment by press time.
Additional reporting by Terrace Myles