3 lawsuits filed against Big Ox for displacing residents

Residents allege that gas issues were to blame for displacing them from homes

SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Iowa - Several South Sioux City residents who say they were forced from their homes by sewer odors linked to Big Ox Energy are now suing the company and the city for hundreds of thousands of dollars each in damages.

Word of the lawsuits comes after an EPA investigation concluded Big Ox was emitting hydrogen sulfide gas into the air and the sewer system last year.

Three lawsuits have been filed in Dakota County court by residents who say they were displaced because of gas issues involving the Big Ox energy plant.

Prominent Omaha Attorney, David Domina, is representing the homeowners -- and says additional lawsuits over the gas problem may be filed in the future.

He told KCAU 9 News that Big Ox Energy completely failed in their plant operations -- and he says south sioux city also failed to look out for the well-being of it's citizens.

"The damages to the residential properties are substantial. The disruptions and the lives of these people are inestimable and the circumstances are just so unfortunate and so obviously avoidable," said Domina.

South Sioux City officials aren't commenting on the lawsuits but Big Ox Energy release the following statement:

Big Ox Energy is committed to being a good corporate neighbor and employer in South Sioux City. Big Ox Energy provides affordable and sustainable disposal services for organic waste while creating jobs directly and as a local source of renewable natural gas and other valuable products.

BOE denies the allegations of lawsuits involving some South Sioux City residents targeting Big Ox Energy and South Sioux City and intends to defend itself vigorously against such claims. Big Ox Energy has proactively worked with all inter-related federal, state and local agencies and with the residents and leadership of South Sioux City to ensure that its highly-regulated operations have not and will not cause any adverse impacts to the safety or health of the local community.

Besides investing in South Sioux City through spending more than $35 million to create new sewage treatment facilities for South Sioux, Big Ox Energy has spent more than $1 million to help build a new sewer line that is isolated from residential, school and business sewer lines.

Working in partnership with all stakeholders, Big Ox Energy (BOE) proactively complies with all related standards and obligations set forth in its air and water permits. The comprehensive obligations and standards in the company’s long-standing permits were developed through an open and transparent process that carefully considered and responded to all the potential impacts to the community through the imposition of state-of-the-art controls. In addition, a lawsuit allegation that BOE concealed contents of released gases to Plaintiffs is unequivocally false. BOE’s processes have always been open to the public as part of the public permitting process.

The company saves South Sioux City and its taxpayers $900,000 annually through creating renewable biogas from treating daily 2 million gallons of wastewater and hundreds of tons of other organic waste that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

Each day the South Sioux City plant injects nearly 1200 dekatherms of renewable natural gas into the interstate pipeline. That number is equivalent to nearly 10,000 gallons of gasoline.

Currently the South Sioux City facility employs 35 full-time employees, and the plant plans to continue to hire more people.

In the future, Big Ox Energy in South Sioux City will develop processes for organic soils production, and will capture CO2 to be used for beverage grade products.


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