183,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled now winding through Caloosahatchee

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne
Published: Updated:
Caloosahatchee River (WINK News)

A whopping 183,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled into your water and now it’s winding its way through the Caloosahatchee.

Crews are working on testing to try and find out why this happened and how you are affected.

“The smell is pretty bad,” says Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani.

The clean water advocate is keeping tabs on our water.

“We’re taking some samples and trying to determine how contaminated it is right now,” he said.

This creek runs behind Fort Myers High School and it’s been on Cassani’s radar because of the spill that happened Thursday further inland.

Creek behind Fort Myers High School being monitored after sewage spill. (WINK News)

The nearly 200,000 gallons of sewage spilled into Manuel Branch and a stormwater system because of a lift station malfunction.

According to an incident report from the City of Fort Myers to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, it happened at Canal Street and US-41.

Waterkeeper volunteer Ranger Maggie Stevens finds it disturbing.

“All of that goes to the river. All of it goes to the river,” she said.

“The state Department of Environmental Protection and the city need to get it together and fix this problem,” Cassani said. “It cannot go on this long at this level.”

DEP says it “is in the process of drafting a warning letter.” It will require the city to provide necessary facts for DEP to finish its regulatory review. In turn, that will be used to decide actions and enforcement.

The City of Fort Myers says it’s taking steps including sandbagging, applying biocide, aerating the water and daily sampling. It has also made repairs to a level indicator at the lift station and the failed sewer line.

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