Fort Myers promises transparency about former dump site

FORT MYERS, Fla. City officials are pledging a more transparent approach as they continue to deal with controversy over a former toxic dump site near Dunbar homes.

The city is planning a public meeting to allow residents to express concerns about upcoming tests planned for the site where arsenic was found 10 years ago.

“It is a process that is open, it’s transparent and we’re going to continue with the same thing,” City Manager Saeed Kazemi said. “There’s nothing in there that we are going to keep secret.”

The city expects to announce the time, date and location of the meeting Tuesday. It hired two firms — GFA International Inc. of Lee County and Kansas-based Black & Veatch — to provide environmental engineering and testing services at the site where the city used to dump sludge from a water treatment plant.

Testing is expected to begin the week of July 31, with findings to be published around Sept. 11. The city will also test drinking wells that some use near the site, Kazemi said.

The last tests performed on the area — bounded by Henderson Avenue on the west, Midway Avenue on the east, Jeffcott Street on the south and South Street on the north —revealed no remaining hazardous levels of arsenic or any existing threat to groundwater, according to the Department of Environmental Protection.

A fence going up around the area is slated to be finished by week’s end.

Reporter:Bob Irzyk
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