Wells planned near closed N. Ind. ethanol plant

5/14/2013 9:15 AM
By Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Officials are working on plans to install wells in hopes of relieving the basement flooding that began happening at numerous South Bend homes when a nearby ethanol plant shut down last year.

The wells are meant to lower the groundwater level that rose after the New Energy Corp. plant closed and stopped pumping about 6 million gallons of water a day, the South Bend Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/15IZMD7 ).

City engineer Eric Horvath told a City Council committee on Monday that the installation of as many as four wells will cost about $375,000. Horvath said the some 50 affected homeowners will be charged about $12 a month to operate and maintain the wells.

The ethanol plant that opened in 1984 on the city's southwest side shut down last November just before the company filed for bankruptcy.

The city has been paying the plant's owner about $11,000 a month since March to operate a single pump there as a temporary solution to the flooding problem.

The city is in talks with two companies about taking over the plant, which is in danger of being dismantled unless a new operator can be found, Hovarth said. The city will put in the new wells regardless of what happens to the plant, he said, and both companies have asked the city to indemnify them against any future water problems.

"Any new operator's going to want us to do this," Hovarth said.

City Councilman Oliver Davis, whose district includes the plant, said the well plan would help the area's residents.

"Personally, I'd like to say I'm very pleased with this," Davis said. "I would say this is something I'm very excited about."


Information from: South Bend Tribune, http://www.southbendtribune.com

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