FORT MYERS, Fla. (June 23, 2017) – At the request of City Council, The City of Fort Myers is immediately taking action toward the remediation of the former water plant sludge pits, located on several City-owned lots bordered by South St., Henderson Ave., Jeffcott St., and Midway Ave. Council requested the immediate steps during the June 19 City Council meeting.
The future actions on the site fall into four phases. There will likely be some overlap between these activities; however, the four general phases are as follows:
Phase One: Secure the property
At the request of neighborhood residents, securing the property will be the first step in the remediation process. Residents have expressed concerns in the media that the site is too accessible, and some have stated that they would like to see a fence around the property. To provide the neighborhood with piece of mind, the City will install these fences within the next few weeks. Anyone wishing to access the property will still be able to do so by contacting the City’s Public Works Department at (239) 321-8100.
Phase Two: Site Evaluation
At the City’s request, independent contractors will conduct historical, physical and environmental evaluations of the property to prepare for remediation. The physical evaluation will include surveying the exact locations of the sludge deposit pits on the site and calculating the remediation area. The environmental evaluation will focus on soil testing at the site, but will also include testing of wells, if any, that are still operating on adjacent properties. These two processes, when combined, will give the City a more accurate picture of potential remediation strategies.
Phase Three: Community Input
After the preliminary analysis is complete, input from community stakeholders will help the City determine acceptable uses for the land. The City is in the process of identifying community members for this team. Once the stakeholder team has determined preferred uses for the land, the City will pursue appropriate remediation strategies to prepare the lots.
Phase Four: Physical Remediation
Depending on the land use and appropriate method of remediation, the City will work with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to achieve environmental closure on the property. Development of the property, like any other site in the City, will need to follow the procedures established by Florida Statute and City Code.
During each of these phases, neighborhood residents can expect to see occasional physical activity on the site. These activities are not expected to disrupt the neighborhood in any way. Remediation activities will be coordinated between the City’s Community Development and Public Works Departments.
Regulatory requirements require the City to take a measured approach to remediation and development of this property. Thus, while the City intends to move quickly, the site remediation process cannot and will not happen overnight. However, the act of securing the property has already begun with the replacement of the former site signage that had fallen into disrepair. Phase two, evaluation, will likely begin before the end of June.