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Fort Myers leader called out for ongoing water quality issues

Posted at 11:19 PM, Jul 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-24 17:30:57-04

FORT MYERS, FLA — People who live in the Fort Myers community of McGregor Reserve, say they've had enough lip service when it comes to the rust-colored water coming out of their faucets.

Paige Cooper says the city manager, Saeed Kazemi, has known about the problem since February and has been slow to act.

Cooper confronted Kazemi about the problem at Monday night's city council meeting.

"Mr. Kazemi, would you drink this water?" she said.

The confrontation comes after Kazemi vowed to get to the bottom of things a month ago.

But so far, several people tell FOX 4 that all they've received are a few temporary water filters that barely work.

They say there's also been more pipe flushing.

"I said 'What is the plan to monitor this?', and he said 'Well, this filter is supposed to last three months'," said Mary Lisa Graham.

On top of that, they now have poor water pressure from a valve that has been shut off.

"They are letting hydrants flush before they take samples," another homeowner tells FOX 4.

"It's like when a project is due and you haven't done anything for it until the night before," said Cooper.

The group says even when the water is clear, personal tests have shown that they still have higher than normal iron levels in the water and their bodies.

"Iron overload in the body is fatal," said Tuesday Shannon.

In the end, they want better temporary filters, a fixed pipe and for Kazemi and the head of Fort Myers Public Works, Richard Moulton, to be held accountable for the slow response.

After a lot of back and forth Monday night, it appears the group got those things, to a small degree.

"What can you tell Mrs. Cooper sitting back there to take back to her community?" said city councilman Kevin Anderson.

"I am not going to rest until we get this problem solved," said Kazemi.

Ultimately, Kazemi gave a three-part directive: 1) To fix the immediate issue of filters and low water pressure; 2) To get McGregor Reserve residents reimbursed for their water bills; And 3) To fix the problem pipe that's creating the rust-colored water in the first place.

Kazemi told the council that the filters and water pressure will be addressed this week.