City officials held an informational meeting Tuesday night for the residents along Calvert street, near the now shut down New Energy Ethanol Plant in an attempt to explain why they are now experiencing flooded basements and crawlspaces after a particularly dry year.
Officials point to the shut down plant as the source of the issue. South Bend's Board of Works President Gary Gilot stated that "During the period of time the plant was in operation, their withdrawal of large amounts of ground water for production purposes and cooling purposes was de-watering the basements of these homes."
Residents like Peggy Tomkiewticz still had bigger questions however, particularly who allowed them to build on this land in the first place when they knew of high ground water levels and poor soil.
"Somebody said they could build my house where they built my house. Somebody okayed that. A builder just can't come in and do whatever they want. There are certain standards to follow."
The overall hope of both the city and the residents is that a company comes in and purchases the plant putting it back in operation. This would potentially turn the wells back on and again lower the water level in the area.
For now residents are stuck in a waiting game. First they must wait until January 14 for a South Bend Common Council meeting where officials from the building department will be in attendance to explain possible solutions to their problems. Then they must wait until February when a decision will be made on what is happening with the ethanol plant.
Until then officials advise them to continue to use their sump pumps as much as necessary and in some extreme cases possibly put in a second pump.