Dunbar sludge site negotiations stalled, Fort Myers and neighbor disagreements

Reporter: Taylor Petras
Published: Updated:
FILE: Sludge site in Dunbar Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. (Photo via WINK News/FILE)

The federal lawsuit filed against the City of Fort Myers for the sludge that still remains at a Lee County sludge site looks to either be headed to trial or thrown out of court.

Negotiations in court between neighbors and Fort Myers over the Dunbar sludge site on South Street have stalled, unable to come to an agreement on a settlement Thursday.

“I’m just glad to see it gone,” Luetricia Becker said.

While the sludge site is still being battled out in the courtroom, neighbors, who have dealt with the sludge for almost two years, are happy to see the progress being made to get it out of the area.

“I’m glad,” Jordan Brown said. “I’m happy for it. They just need to get it up out of here.”

The city is asking a judge to throw out the federal lawsuit for a second time.

“They can ask the judge whatever they want to ask the judge,” Becker said. “But I think it would be wrong if the judge does that.”

The city’s attorney is arguing it wasn’t a case of open dumping, and there was no proof of immediate danger from the sludge.

Becker, who is a lifetime Dunbar resident, is a plaintiff of this case. She said she is not giving up the fight for her neighbors and the removal of sludge from near their homes.

“I’m gonna go get me another lawyer, pick it back up it right back up,” said Becker if the case were to get thrown out. “That’s just what I’m gonna do.”

Despite the ongoing court battle, Becker and others are happy to see it all go.

“They’re cleaning up real good,” Brown said. “They doing their thing. I give it to them.”

The city has until January 29 to respond. The judge will then decide whether or not to have a hearing on the motion and make a decision from there.

Seven thousand tons of sludge have been removed from the South Street sludge site.

The case is scheduled to be determined as a class action lawsuit in March.

“I’m glad to see it go from my neighborhood, and I pray to God it don’t go to another neighborhood,” Becker said.

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