City works towards solution for water woes near Ethanol Plant - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

City works towards solution for water woes near Ethanol Plant

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An update regarding water woes residents near the New Energy Ethanol Plant have been feeling for months.

Could a permanent solution be in the works?

We've been telling you about the flooding problems in Rum Village ever since the New Energy Ethanol Plant shut down and stopped pumping water.  

On Friday a pump was turned back on at the plant to bring some temporary relief.

"Huge difference," says Peggy Tomkiewicz just two days after the pump was turned on.

Tomkiewicz says her sump pump had been running pretty much non-stop since the ethanol plant shut down.

Since a pump at the plant was turned back on, her pump is getting a breather.

"I would estimate almost an hour, 45 minutes to an hour before the pump kicks in and has to run," says Tomkiewicz.

Now we're getting more answers from the Mayor's office regarding long-term solutions.

Councilman Oliver Davis sent a letter to the Mayor last week asking a number of questions regarding solutions for residents.

He gave him Monday, February 18th to respond, and he did.

Davis says he's pleased with the direction the city is taking in looking for solutions.

Buttigieg's response to Davis includes communication the Mayor's office has had with Senator Joe Donnelly's office and county officials.

"When this whole project started, when they brought New Energy...it was a county council plus a city council and other governmental entities that were working together. It was not just a city project, so therefore, since this happened we're calling on all of them and I've asked the Mayor to do that," says Davis.

Davis says a long-term solution is still needed..and he'll continue to work with the mayor's office to find one.

"I encourage those in the administrative office to continue their work. We're thankful for their work. This is great that we can finally come together for a temporary solution, but we can't stay in the world of temporary, we've got to look for permanency," says Davis.

Meantime residents like Tomkiewicz enjoy the temporary relief, but are sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for that long-term solution.

"I think it's a band-aid right now to get us covered. We have spring to go through, we need a permanent fix," says Tomkiewicz.

There will be another hearing regarding the Ethanol Plant's bankruptcy proceedings next Wednesday.

Davis says hopefully they'll know more about the future of the plant and whether it will even be possible to keep the pumps running in the future.

As for the mayor, he's made it clear he wants whoever buys the plant to operate the facility instead of tearing it down.  

In a letter sent to FOX 28 by Davis from the Mayor's office, the investor that bid on the plant at auction said they are committed to restarting the facility and don't have any plans to demolish it.

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