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Fort Myers neighborhood living with urine-colored water

Posted at 11:03 PM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 18:12:20-04

FORT MYERS, FLA — Update (6/17/2020):

The city of Fort Myers has issued the following statement about the water problem in McGregor Reserve:

The city is continuing its evaluation of the system and has retained a consultant to work with engineering staff to determine the source of the issue.

Customer accounts will be examined on a case-by-case basis regarding usage levels once the city has a better perspective on the situation.

Original Story:

When you run a faucet in your home, you're probably expecting the water to come out clean and clear.

But in the Fort Myers community of McGregor Reserve, their faucets are churning out some alarming colors.

"Anywhere from yellow to almost chocolate milk brown," said Steve Greenfeld.

Greenfeld tells Fox 4 lived in two houses in this community and he's noticed the problem on and off for years.

"You can't cook with it, I don't want to bathe with it, I don't want to drink it, I don't want to give it to my dog, because what's the health ramifications?" he said.

Well a woman who lives just a few streets over, can answer that question all to well.

"I've taken [my daughter] to dermatologist after dermatologist, she has been tested multiple times for allergies, it's not allergies, it's eczema and the doctor has flat out told me it's the water," said Paige Cooper.

Her daughter's skin has gotten so bad, that she installed an expensive filtration system last year.

"We were still having yellow water even with the filtration system and it was just caked, caked with rust sediment," said Cooper.

The city and city manager, Saeed Kazemi, has been aware of this issue since April at the very least, and so far it's fix has been to flush that area's water hydrants over and over.

And when they're done, those who live there are then asked to run their taps until the water looks clear, which is leading to crazy high water bills on top of everything else.

Kazemi's "fix" was taken to task by city councilman Fred Burson at Monday night's city council meeting.

"I am begging you to admit we got a problem and get in there and correct it, but to continue to blame the residents is foolish," said Burson.

Kazemi later claiemd that he and his team were "looking into the issue."

"We did look at the whole area, now we are looking from outside to see if it's coming from outside," he said.

But those we spoke to say the city's fix needs to be a bit more aggressive..

"I would like to pay for at least half if our water bills. I would like for them to pay for my filters that are $100 a pop," said Coopers.

"I don't care what it costs, I pay enough in taxes, replace the pipes if need be," said Greenfeld.

We've reached out to see if the city would be willing to cover part of those water bills and we're waiting to hear back.