FT. MYERS, Fla. - City of Ft. Myers officials say they will handle the clean up of an arsenic tainted patch of land in Dunbar.
Traces of the poisonous substance were detected in 2007, but can be traced back to 1962 when toxic lime sludge was dumped there by the city.
“You can’t get arsenic poisoning from just having it on your skin, you have to actually eat it, drink it or breathe it," Jon Iglehart of the Department of Environmental Protection told council members Monday.
He said the arsenic had not leached into the ground water on the parcel of vacant land, located at the corner of Midway Avenue and Jeffcott Street.
But residents weren't buying it, many of them outraged the city knew about this 10 years ago, but did nothing to address it until now.
“Seven neighbors have now either died from cancer on one small area one block north of that site," said Curtis Sheer.
City Manager Saeed Kazemi says cleaning up the area could cost anywhere between $2 million to $17 million. That process cannot begin until another soil sample of the area is taken.
“I take full responsibility of what was done by people I don’t know, but it’s my baby now, and we are going to take care of it," said Councilman Johnny Streets Jr.
DEP will continue to monitor the area until the clean up process begins.