New well promises Rum Village no more flooding - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

New well promises Rum Village no more flooding

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For the past two years, Shirley Davis has had water in her basement every single day. Whether it was an inch deep, or up to her knees, water has not been able to stop flooding her basement in her home in Rum Village, until now.

Peerless-Midwest Inc. and the city of South Bend held a ribbon cutting ceremony marking the installation of a new well in the Rum Village neighborhood on Wednesday. Common Council President Oliver J. Davis spearheaded the project, trying to get the well on the budget for two years. Now, the cost and the maintenance of the well will be on South Bend's 2015 budget plan.

"The installation of the well ensures that flooding and moisture problems will not be a problem again for nearby property owners. I'm very pleased we were able to work together to find a solution," say Davis.

South Bend Public Works Director Eric Horvath says normally, the groundwater level was 5 feet below the surface. When the New Energy ethanol plant began operating the plant's pumps near Rum Village, that water level went down. Horvath says older homes that were built before the plant pumped the areas water installed their basements above the water level. Once the plant started operating, newer homes installed their basements lower. New Energy ethanol plant left in November 2012, leaving area residents with rising water levels. Older homes weren't affected nearly as much as the newer homes.

Shirley Davis was one of those Rum Village neighbors that was severely affected. "I moved here in 2011, and I thought the flooding was my problem, until I started hearing from other neighbors they were having the same problem. I've bought four sump pumps, ripped out my basement walls to try to avoid having mold grow, but unfortunately, there's mold starting to seep into the ceiling," she says.

Davis along with other neighbors attended many neighborhood meetings to express their concerns and frustration. Horvath says they were very aware of the neighborhoods issues, but he says the process to get the well installed took some time. "There's a lot of engineering that went on behind this, and we had to see what the best option for the neighborhood would have been," says Horvath.

The newly installed well pump cost the city about $170,000. It sits near 3000 W. Calvert Road in South Bend, almost half a mile down from the old New Energy plant. Last summer, the Connecticut-based Noble Americas purchased the previous New Energy facility and began operating the plant's pumps. The company is in the process of a $28 million upgrade.
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