Soil Solutions told to clean up and move out of Elkhart - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Soil Solutions told to clean up and move out of Elkhart

Posted:
A federal judge has approved a settlement in an Elkhart county neighborhood's long-time battle against a wood recycling facility.  You may recall a large explosion and fire at what was then the VIM plant back in 2007.  One worker was killed.  For years before that and ever since, neighbors have been complaining about fumes, health problems and thick dust everywhere.   The judge says the Soil Solutions, the company that bought the plant in 2011, has five years to clean up and move out.

"Win one, a big one, for our neighborhood."  Wayne Stutsman bought his home near U.S. 33 in Elkhart County back in 1971.  But since the year 2000, he says he's been fighting for a quality of life he lost when a recycling plant moved in.  
"We had dust, even here recently, like it was snowing."

He and his neighbors have been documenting everything for 14 years.  Three hundred pieces of video and  13,000 still photos like this one:  a dog dish not long after someone put the fresh water out.  He was in the courtroom Monday and was overjoyed to hear the judge's approval of a settlement that says the recycler, Soil Solutions, has to clean up the site and close down in five years.  

He says, for years, the neighborhood has been presenting their evidence to Elkhart County officials, as well as IDEM and the EPA.  He says all of them failed them.   And he adds, 
this settlement would not have happened if he Hoosier Environmental Council hadn't provided them with years of free legal help.

Kim Ferraro, an attorney with the Hoosier Environmental Council says, "Communities that have money to spend and have access to attorneys, can resist colluding activities like this in their affluent neighborhoods.  And so, these types of businesses often wind up in poor communities and poor people can't afford to fight back. It's our mission to provide them representation."

A spokesperson for Soil Solutions told Fox 28 it's not a win/ lose situation. He thinks the settlement is good for everybody. And he says they would've rather stayed, but the litigation costs were too high.  The spokesperson also says they were operating in 100 percent compliance.

Stutsman says he's not upset the company will have another 5 years because there's a light at the end of the tunnel.  
"It's a blessing to be able to see that and know that we're gonna be able to get our home back and our lives back."








Order to file for class action approval "
Preliminary approval order
Notice of class action settlement (approved)
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • South Bend Common Council Members hold walking tour in Henry Davis Jr.'s district and none speak about arrest

    South Bend Common Council Members hold walking tour in Henry Davis Jr.'s district and none speak about arrest

    Council members met with residents of the 2nd District in South BendCouncil members met with residents of the 2nd District in South Bend
    South Bend Common Council Members were knocking on doors and chatting with residents on Friday evening. It was all part of the council's ongoing walking tours through the city's neighborhoods. Friday's walk was held in District 2, which is represented by Councilman Henry Davis Jr..More >>
    South Bend Common Council Members were knocking on doors and chatting with residents on Friday evening. It was all part of the council's ongoing walking tours through the city's neighborhoods. Friday's walk was held in District 2, which is represented by Councilman Henry Davis Jr..
    More >>
  • Tricia's Playhouse owner charged in death of five-year-old boy

    Tricia's Playhouse owner charged in death of five-year-old boy

    Tricia's Playhouse in Michigan CityTricia's Playhouse in Michigan City
    Charges were filed Friday against the owner of the Michigan City day care where a five-year-old died last month.According to State of Indiana records, Tricia Calvin, owner of Tricia's Playhouse, was charged with Reckless Homicide and Involuntary Manslaughter by LaPorte County prosecutors.More >>
    Charges were filed Friday against the owner of the Michigan City day care where a five-year-old died last month.According to State of Indiana records, Tricia Calvin, owner of Tricia's Playhouse, was charged with Reckless Homicide and Involuntary Manslaughter by LaPorte County prosecutors.
    More >>
  • Attorney: Daycare hanging victim's mother says those in charge should accept responsibility for what happened

    Attorney: Daycare hanging victim's mother says those in charge should accept responsibility for what happened

    An attorney for Anita LeFlore, the mother of five-year-old Amareon Williams, says his client is satisfied the LaPorte County Prosecutor's Office has charged Tricia Calvin. Calvin is the owner of Tricia's Playhouse in Michigan City, where Amareon died on June 9, 2014. Police say Amareon choked to death when he became tangled in a jump rope hanging from a play set. "Anita LeFlore is very satisfied today that the prosecutor is going to make sure that the people running this facility, that the pe...More >>
    An attorney for Anita LeFlore, the mother of five-year-old Amareon Williams, says his client is satisfied the LaPorte County Prosecutor's Office has charged Tricia Calvin. Calvin is the owner of Tricia's Playhouse in Michigan City, where Amareon died on June 9, 2014. Police say Amareon choked to death when he became tangled in a jump rope hanging from a play set. "Anita LeFlore is very satisfied today that the prosecutor is going to make sure that the people running this facility, that the pe...More >>
Powered by WorldNow

Fox 28

WSJV-TV FOX 28
58096 County Road 7, South
Elkhart, IN 46517

Switchboard: 574.679.9758
News Phone: 574.679.4545
Station Fax: 574.294.1267
Email: fox28news@fox28.com

All content ©Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSJV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Heather Stewart at (574) 343-5310. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.