‘I’m not afraid of the site’: Fort Myers mayor wants Dunbar residents to reach out to him

Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson wants residents living near a toxic sludge site to bring their questions and concerns directly to him.

Henderson has never visited the site where arsenic was discovered in 2007, and in the groundwater there in 2012.

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“I’m not afraid of the site. We’ve relied on experts to gain info from the site, there’s no reason for me to go there and supervise,” Henderson said.

He admitted the city could have done better — but says now, anyone with a concern should come directly to him. The Mayor added, “I urge any citizen to reach out to me personally.”

The City of Fort Myers held a meeting on Jan. 25 to discuss test results, but Henderson was not in attendance. He was at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington D.C.

Black and Veatch Consulting, a company which oversees test results for the City of Fort Myers, stated the “Source of arsenic in groundwater is not lime sludge.”

“It was some relief to learn that the science and data indicates citizens have nothing to worry about when it comes to being harmed physically or otherwise,” Henderson said.

But while the consulting company says test results show no health risks, the Department of Environmental Protection is requiring the city to expand on its testing.

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

As for the next step, Henderson added, “Let’s get it cleaned up, let’s engage with citizens, ask them what they believe would be best for their neighborhoods.”

Many residents are in search of more answers and worry their property values will be lowered.

With a background in real estate, Henderson is offering individual help and says residents can count on him.

“If you concerned about it, we want to know of your concern. We’ll help you get more data and information,” Henderson said. “Any citizen that wants an explanation, I want to make sure that’s available to them.”

Reporter:Britni McDonald
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