South Bend residents still dealing with groundwater issues near ethanol plant

By: NewsCenter 16 Staff Email
By: NewsCenter 16 Staff Email

The South Bend Common Council is taking steps to once again try to resolve the issue of noise and smells coming from a nearby ethanol plant.

During meetings in December and early January, residents brought the groundwater problems to the council’s attention, saying there were bad smells and water damage in their houses. But, this is not the first time the New Energy Plant has caused problems in South Bend.

Back in the 1980s, the property which was commonly known as the “western end of Calvert Street,” faced similar noise and odor issues. About 10,000 individuals signed and delivered a petition calling for an “immediate end to the stench from the ethanol plant,” in 1985.

As a result the city was authorized a loan up to $3 million in the mid-1980s for “abating the odor caused by new Energy’s ethanol plant,” and the area was declared an urban development area so residents could receive personal and property tax abatements.

The chairperson of the City Council’s Public Works and Property Vacation Committee has taken provisional steps to fix the issue. He said in a press release on Thursday that he had spoken to the Public Works Director about contacting state and national ground water authorities about providing assistance.

Another meeting has been scheduled for next Wednesday, Jan. 23, at 5:30 p.m. at the Rum Village Nature Center on South Gertrude to continue discussing the problem at-hand.

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