Polk County commission on Dunbar sludge: “keep [your] problems in Fort Myers”

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Dunbar sludge site. (Credit: WINK News)

Clean up at the Dunbar sludge site hits another snag. People in Polk County don’t want it in their community either.

More than a couple dozen people in Polk County made it clear at a commissioners meeting that they don’t want the Dunbar sludge coming to their neighborhood.

Calvin Harrison of Mulberry said they’re speaking up, “We’re speaking up. We’re not going to allow you to continue doing this”

Polk County Dunbar sludge commissioners meeting. Photo via WINK News.
More than a couple dozen people were at the Polk County commissioners meeting. Photo via WINK News.

Many of them say they live near the landfill where the sludge will get dumped after processing at clark environmental.

“We have residential areas around there and already have issues. We don’t want more,” said Lanette Ball of Bartow.

Polk County Commissioner Bill Braswel says Fort Myers should handle its own mess, “I would like to tell Fort Myers to keep their problems in Fort Myers”

DEP regional director Mary Yeargan says Fort Myers did have options to cover it or put a roadway or building on top of it, but chose to get rid of it.

The city’s landfill can only take two truckloads at a time. And with 30,000 tons, that would take far too long.

Yeargan says she doesn’t believe their fears are supported by the facts, adding there should be no concerns.

Yeargan reiterates that even though the sludge contains arsenic, it’s not hazardous and will be safely disposed, “While that is above our cleanup target levels for residential properties and industrial properties it is not an alarming amount of arsenic from our point of view because you can have arsenic naturally occurring in the soils”

But many say safe or not – not in my back yard.

Vanessa Glass of Polk County says, “I don’t feel safe being that close to it. I don’t want to take that risk with my family.”

They don’t want it near their homes.

Polk County is the third location the city has attempted to take the sludge.

Even with the public outcry, the Polk County commissioner chairman says this is a closed issue and the sludge will continue being shipped there.

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