Fort Myers FIB Questionnaire

  • Calusa Waterkeeper (CWK) has serious concerns as to the condition and capacity of the Fort Myers sewage system.

    For many years, Billy’s Creek, Whiskey Creek and Manuel’s Branch have suffered from elevated levels of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB). These contaminated waters are the canary in the coal mine. There have been repeated documented breaches of the City’s sewage system. These sewage spills endanger public health and exposes the City’s liability. As you know, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) has imposed fines on the City for sewage lift station failures and other types of sewage spills. The City of Sarasota was recently sued for sewage spills in their jurisdiction.

    CWK recognizes that some candidates have enunciated environmental positions and criticized federal and state management of water resources upstream of Fort Myers. However, these FIB water quality impairments are unquestionably “homegrown” and the city should focus on stemming the pollution originating within its own jurisdiction.

    CWK has identified several actions, indicated below, that the City should take to remedy this problem. As a candidate for City of Fort Myers Council or Mayor’s offices, we would like to hear your views on these actions and any comments and proposals that you may have. Because CWK is a 501(c)(3) organization, we do not make candidate endorsements, but we intend to share your position with our members and supporters throughout Lee County, including the City of Fort Myers, and publish them publicly.

    We would be most appreciative if you would please respond by July 31, 2020 in order for us to let people know your position prior to the primary election.

  • In order to devise appropriate solutions, the City and stakeholders need to know the FIB source (e.g. human vs. animal). The City will need to develop protocols for where and when to do source testing. How would you prioritize the need for City to develop and implement source testing protocols?
  • Please explain your reasoning or concerns:
  • Public notifications during FIB events should warn explicitly of the dangers to human and animal health from fecal bacteria contamination. How would you prioritize ensuring the City's notification program is effective, and that signs and notifications are explicit in their messaging?
  • How would you improve signage and/or other means of notifications:
  • This Plan is supposed to be updated every ten (10) years. The last update was done in 2005. Will you support starting the plan update in 2020/2021?
  • Please expand on how you might prioritize the plan update:
  • Once the Updated Master Sewer Plan is complete, how would you prioritize implementing this updated plan?
  • CWK recognizes that this will prove to be a multi-year effort. How would prioritize expediting the implementation and various geographical project areas?
  • Would you be interested in meeting with CWK to hear our more detailed ideas for implementing the above recommendations?
  • This completes our questionnaire. Calusa Waterkeeper thanks you for your response as well as your commitment to serving the citizens of Fort Myers.