SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (KCAU) — Big Ox Energy has filed counterclaims against the City of South Sioux City in the lawsuit alleging damages caused by the treatment of wastewater.  

According to court documents, the City of South Sioux City filed a lawsuit in December 2020 against Big Ox Energy-Siouxland, LLC, Big Ox Energy, Inc., and its entities, claiming that Big Ox Energy violated their agreement to receive and treat the city’s wastewater while causing numerous environmental problems. Big Ox Energy answered the lawsuit on July 18 and filed a counterclaim.  

The lawsuit

The complaint filed by the City of South Sioux City alleged that the city entered into an agreement with Big Ox Energy to construct a wastewater facility that would receive and treat the community’s wastewater.

The complaint documents stated that the company allegedly breached, and the suit filings state that problems with the facility started almost immediately after the operation began, eventually leading to the facility’s closing. This resulted in higher costs for the city to treat wastewater at a different location.  

The counterclaims

The counterclaims filed by Big Ox Energy alleged they did not breach the agreement between them and the city, rather the city breached the agreement and caused damage to the facility, contributing to its eventual shutdown, according to the court documents.  

The original complaint states that Big Ox Energy not only caused residents to complain about odors being emitted from the facility but limited residents’ use of their own property.

The documents also specified that the facility’s operations led to injuries to employees, and representatives of the facility allegedly “refused” to allow environmental inspectors into the facility to perform inspections. It was stated in the documents that when inspectors eventually were able to continue with their inspections, they observed numerous violations including provisions of the Clean Air Act which required Big Ox Energy to pay a monetary fine.

The lawsuit also stated that Big Ox Energy and its operators have made no attempt to correct the violations or obtained permits to restore the facilities.  

Big Ox Energy’s counterclaim stated that the city did not follow city plumbing codes, allowing acidic wastewater discharge to cause damage to the facilities illegally. The court documents stated that the City’s alleged breach of the agreement by allowing this wastewater in the facility, the facility sustained around $10 million in damages and incurred environmental issues.