Water-Related News

Fort Myers sludge from Dunbar site is headed to Polk County

The city of Fort Myers has found a Plan B for getting rid of the sludge deposited in a Dunbar neighborhood decades ago, according to a memo to city staff.

It is now headed to a waste solidification facility in Mulberry that processes nonhazardous solids, sludges, liquids, tars and gels in bulk quantities, the plan states.

The city began excavating the sludge site on South Street on Nov. 29 and at least two trucks left for a cement plant in Alabama in what the city called a "test run."

The removal plan was crafted by PPM Consultants, which the city has paid more than $3 million to help remove sludge from the site.

The Altamonte Springs-based consulting firm PPM enlisted the services of Geocycle, a subsidiary of waste management company LafargeHolcim, which owns the plant, but they found they could not take the material to Alabama, prompting neighbors on South Street to wonder how long it would take the city to continue the removal.

Fort Myers City Manager Saeed Kazemi said Thursday that he still expects the sludge to be removed by the middle or end of February.

"That's the commitment and we are going to do it," Kazemi said.

In the memo, Kazemi writes: "City staff evaluated the test run of the lime residuals material to Alabama and adjustments to the plan are required to proceed with the project. City staff worked with the contractor PPM to refine the plan and PPM found a permitted facility that is able to accept the material."