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Fort Myers hires law firm for toxic sludge issue

Posted at 11:16 PM, Dec 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-05 16:52:36-05

The Fort Myers City Council has voted to retain the law firm of Holland & Knight to deal with any future litigation regarding the toxic sludge issue in Dunbar.

Council voted to spend up to $150,000 to hire the firm to protect itself from future lawsuits over contaminated land.

"Most likely what we're looking at is extensive litigation, and we need to be prepared for the reasons that I mentioned," said City Attorney Grant Alley.

Last summer traces of arsenic was found in contaminated land near Midway and Jeffcott Streets in the Dunbar section of Ft. Myers.  Since then, several residents have come forward saying they are sick from the toxic sludge that was dumped on the site decades ago.

"They haven't spent one dime to get a fund together to test residents to exposure to arsenic, or give cancer screenings," said community activist Anthony Thomas.

City Manager Saed Kazemi says he's open to paying for health screenings, after more soil tests are conducted.

"We have done everything possible to protect those residents, and we will continue to do so," said Kazemi.

Results of the latest round of tests are expected to be available next month.