Fort Myers, Florida's Caloosahatchee River is seeing bacterial pollution
Fort Myers, Florida officials are countering claims that bacteria is flowing from the Billy's Creek watershed to the nearby Caloosahatchee River.
The city public works director led a team of outside consultants to demonstrate how the city filters the water through marshes at either end of Billy's Creek to prevent contaminants from flowing into the river, according to the News-Press.
In 2018 the Calusa Waterkeeper advocacy group distributed the results of water testing which claimed there were alarmingly high readings of enterococci, a bacteria that can indicate human fecal pollution in water.
Much of the city presentation with the consultants showed how the water treated at the city's wastewater plant moves through multiple phases before it is discharged into the river, reported the News-Press. According to the city officials, storm water that flows to Billy's Creek is treated in marshes that filter the water before it gets near the river.
"The city exceeds testing and monitoring requirements whenever it is required," said City Manager Saeed Kazemi. "Over the past six years, the city has spent more than $10 million on rehabilitation projects throughout Billy's Creek. It is just kind of unfortunate that some individuals think that just because our wastewater facility is near the creek, that's the source of pollution, and that's simply not the case."
According to Cassani's theory, the county is not addressing the possibility of leaking pipes buried in the ground carrying water that could spread the bacteria into the river, which would bypass city treatment and testing.
In a January 2018 letter to Mayor Randy Henderson and Lee County Commissioner Cecil Pendergrass, there were alarmingly high readings for the enterococci bacteria in Billy's Creek.