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Ethanol plant closure causes mold

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A South Bend woman's home is littered with mold, and now, she's calling for prompt intervention from the city.

Linda Cole runs two de-humdifiers, but the mold in her house keeps growing.

"I've watched it deteriorate around me, and there's many days where I wish I could just walk away from it," Cole said.

But no amount of walking will solve her problem.

When the ethanol plant shut down in early November, her basement flooded, and it wasn't too long before mold popped up.

The city gave her cleaing materials and instructions, but it was just too much to handle. 

"I thought I could take care of it;" Cole said. "My health isn't good, and I'm just looking for help."

But that help has been limited, so ABC57 went to investigate.

"One of the dilemmas with mold is that as long as you have a water source, you'll never get rid of the mold," Dr. Thomas Felger, St. Joe County Health Officer, said.

That water source isn't going away anytime soon.

The ethanol plant pumped more than four million gallons of water a day before it shut down. That water keeps creeping into Cole's basement.

"I don't have an answer for each case," Dr. Felger said. "Just know that it's going to be difficult."

According to Felger, the Health Department doesn't have the authority to take direct action based on county procedures.

And that's forcing folks like Cole to keep fighting a battle she can't win.

"This is the only investment I've ever made in my life," Cole said. "Now look at it."

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