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Dunbar reacts to City's water test results

Posted at 7:19 PM, Jan 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-17 19:19:21-05

DUNBAR, Fla. -- The water test for a sludge in Dunbar are in and the city says the arsenic found does not pose a risk to those in the community. However, the people of Dunbar say they don't trust the city got it right. 

“I don’t drink this water in this neighborhood nowhere around here," said Deborah Newson, a member of the Dunbar community."

Newson says while she doesn't drink the water, she does have to shower in it. She says she often finds rashes on her arms, something she blames on the arsenic in the water and feels concerned for her family. 

"I have grandchildren, I have family members that have kids," she explained. "“I remember my mama used to boil the water and put in the water jugs and stuff when we were kids.”

The Mayor of Fort Myers, Randy Henderson, tells Fox 4, that he felt relieved the results showed the citizens were safe. 

“The presentation yesterday was a sense of relief that according to the science and the data, this expert was pretty confident that citizens have not been unduly exposed to health hazards,” said Henderson. 

However, people like Newson, don't believe the water is as safe as the City claims. It's led her and others in the community to file lawsuit with the help of Environmental Zoning attorney, Ralf Brooke, in the next couple of weeks. 

"If there is a violation of the by-water standards, they are legally responsible for the clean up," said Brooke. 

Newsons reservations goes beyond the test results, she believes race has played a large factor in the city's treatment of the community. 

"I believe if it was any other color or any other neighborhood, they would’ve cleaned it up by now.”

The Lee County NAACP President agreed. 

“Number one it was only in the black community, that’s racial discrimination. Number two, only black people were affected, that’s again racial discrimination,” said NAACP President James Muwakkil.

When confronted about the negative perception some members of Dunbar had towards the city, the Mayor emphasized his focus to keep them safe. 

"We need to understand the science and make sure that people are comfortable that they have not been exposed to health hazards."

Attorney Brooke plans on getting his own test results. The Mayor says he hopes to hold public hearings and meet with individually with members of the community.