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Construction sites investigated for runoff...again

Posted at 11:31 PM, Nov 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-10 23:31:08-05

FORT MYERS, FLA — Two different construction sites in the Fort Myers river district are back under investigation. The pair was slapped with fines back in August, for letting debris run-off into the Caloosahatchee river.

After a brief pause, construction has continued. And according to the state Department of Environmental Protection, despite both sites taking measures to fix the problem, it's back.

Pictures taken after Tropical Storm Eta passed by, also show proof.

This comes after the Silver Hills project, closest to the river, just paid $19,000 in fines to the state from the last go-round. The City Walk project, one street over, has to pay more than $47,000 in fines.

FOX 4 contacted the three people closest to the issue: both site owners and Fort Myers Mayor-elect Kevin Anderson, but they didn't return our calls.

Here's what FOX 4 can confirm.

Back in September, when we first reported on the investigation, the project manager for the City Walk site told FOX 4 that they leaned into mother nature for an explanation.

"We live in Florida; it rains a lot, and we do what we can to contain it. And certainly, our intent is never to do anything that's going to impact the environment for sure. So we want to make sure that if there are issues and any of them are being caused by our site that we're addressing them," said Joe Bonora, President of Catalyst Asset Management

We also reached out to the leader of local clean water group the "Calusa Waterkeepers," which has keeps a close eye on sources of runoff pollution.

The group’s leader John Cassani sounded exasperated, tells FOX 4 that at this point, he's not sure what more can he say, since his group has been raising this issue for quite sometime.

But here's what Cassani did tell FOX 4 back in September, when asked by the runoff was such a big deal to his group.

"It has the ability to suffocate animals that are filter feeders or breathe with gills. And if it settles down on plants it can sometimes harm the plants," he said.

The FL DEP says it has already done a walk-through and spoken with both project leaders, and that they'll also be upping the number of inspections they do here.