City wants to keep ethanol plant pump running for at least six months


South Bend has a plan to keep a pump at the New Energy Ethanol Plant on for at least the next 6 months.

The pump helps push about 4 million gallons of water out of the ground each day.

Before it was turned back on in February, several residents experienced problems with flooding and mildew.

City leaders want to make sure that doesn't happen again now that the sale of the plant's been finalized to two liquidation firms - BidItUp and Maynards.

They've come up with a contract to keep the pump running for the next six months.

It will cost the city up to $8,100 a month in electric costs and $1,000 a week for security.

South Bend will also have to pay a $15,000 AEP deposit.

But, city leaders say it's worth it to keep nearby residents from experiencing more problems.

"Our own taxpayers, our own city, our own people need help," said Common Council Vice President Oliver Davis. "And, our city is there to help our residents."

Davis says they're still working to find long-term solutions to groundwater issues so residents don't have problems selling their homes in the future.

"We do not want to be in next year's fall time getting ready for Christmas and finding out a liquidation is taking place and we go through this a second time," he said. "If we go through it a second time without doing anything, shame on us."

The contract will be considered at Tuesday's Board of Public Works hearing.

City leaders say at this point, there have been no conversations about liquidating the assets at New Energy.

It appears BidItUp and Maynards are hoping to find an operator for the plant.


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