Fort Myers ready to switch back to its own water supply

Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
Fort Myers water
Fort Myers water access. (Credit: WINK News)

The City of Fort Myers will transition from using the county’s water to using its own Wednesday.

The city got help from Lee County earlier this year because of increased demand.

According to Fort Myers’ timeline for the switch over, the transition will take three days.

The city is not out of hot water yet. Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson said there’s still a lot of work for the city and some water customers.

Anderson defends his city and his decisions with no excuses.

“I like the thought that it reinforces to our citizens that they have competent leadership in city hall. We addressed the problem, we came up with a solution, and it was successful,” said Anderson.

What he won’t defend are the actions and errors of previous city leaders, starting with the city’s seeming chronic water problems.

“I cringed at the thought of the prior city manager handling this,” Anderson said. “This is a problem that we inherited. We inherited this problem from the past city manager, past administration.”

The “Problem” has come to the surface in different ways. The city is buying water from Lee County, spending upwards of $173,000 a month for 45 million gallons of water.

Anderson said that bought the city time.

Over the last several months, the city completed two new wells, filled all water tanks, repaired existing wells, and more.

“We’re not out of the woods yet, but I don’t anticipate us having to go back for more water. We have two wells we brought online, each producing 500,000 gallons of water per day. We have two more wells coming on by the end of the year,” said Anderson.

In May, the city’s water problems led the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to stop issuing general permits on water mains out of fear the city may not be able to meet the water demands by any new projects.

There is no definitive word on when the DEP will give the OK to allow the city to begin issuing those water permits.

Mayor Anderson blames the current water problems on the city’s former administration.

Former Mayor Randy Henderson said he is confident in the city’s capital improvement plan and said there’s no reason to panic. He’s confident in the city leadership’s ability to execute it.

As for what affected city residents must do, Fort Myers asks they don’t use the water inside and outside their homes from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. for the next three days.

The city says your water quality might change, including cloudy or discolored water, and recommend running the water for a few minutes or until it is clear again.

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