Outcry led to testing on former Dunbar toxic dump site

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The area bounded in red shows the site in Dunbar where sludge from a water treatment plant was disposed of.

FORT MYERS, Fla. Public input is the reason the city is testing a former toxic dump site in Dunbar, officials say.

Residents near the site where arsenic was discovered in 2007 expressed outrage after learning only this year about the findings, and more than 150 people showed up Tuesday at a public forum on the site.

The latest tests don’t show any unsafe levels of arsenic, according to the Department of Environmental Protection, but the city is testing the site again this month as part of a cleanup and redevelopment plan.

“When people don’t know about something and find out about it, suddenly, obviously, there is concern,” city spokeswoman Kirsten O’Donnell said.

Before the cleanup plan was put in place — and before nearby homeowners raised their voices — the next test scheduled for the site was a groundwater monitoring scheduled for September 2018.

“The city has been monitoring this along with the DEP for 10 years. I just think everybody just thinks it’s time to start moving,” O’Donnell said.

The DEP scheduled the September 2018 monitoring because the city wasn’t moving forward with a redevelopment and cleanup of the site, the agency said.

The area is bounded by Henderson Avenue on the west, Midway Avenue on the east, Jeffcott Street on the south and South Street on the north.

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