Dunbar resident to host community forum about sludge site

Dunbar residents voiced their frustrations Thursday evening during a public meeting with city leaders.

It was a room full of people who felt betrayed after toxic sludge was dumped at a site near their homes in Dunbar. Residents say the city did nothing—putting their health and their kids’ health at risk.

“This meeting is no better than the meeting we had the first time,” Fort Myers resident Josephine Douglas-Brown said. “It’s still the same thing.”

More: FGCU students test Dunbar residents’ hair for arsenic

At Thursday’s public meeting, about 100 people who live in this neighborhood came out to face city officials and their hired experts about the toxic sludge. Many said they’ve had enough of meetings—they want actions.

Their frustrations came face to face with City Manager Saeed Kazemi.

The city’s power point presentation at the meeting told residents that the arsenic found in the groundwater is coming from an “unknown source”, and that it’s no risk to them.

“I haven’t gotten a lot of the information that I was looking for. You’re looking at the boards and everything they have displayed, but there’s nobody there to explain things to you,” Fort Myers resident Betty Simmons said.

More: Dunbar sludge: health, property value and mistreatment concerns

Officials with the state were also on hand to talk, saying the city still has more work to do if they plan on cleaning up the sludge.

In addition, the attorney representing over 100 Dunbar neighbors, Ralph Brookes, was in attendance. The residents are planning to file their lawsuit in federal court in a few weeks.

“We’re looking for them to clean up, but also for medical monitoring so that people that played and drank the sludge can have access to specialized medical care,” Brookes said.

Dunbar resident Crystal Johnson plans to hold a community forum on the sludge at the STARS complex at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday. The public is welcome to attend.

SERIESClick here for complete coverage of Dunbar toxic sludge site

Reporter:John-Carlos Estrada