Lawsuit: Austin-area restaurant releasing sewage onto property

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TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) – Three government agencies are jointly suing Travis County restaurant Proof & Cooper for discharging sewage onto a neighboring property, according to a lawsuit filed in district court.

Proof & Cooper has operated an improperly permitted septic system, which has over-saturated the ground. Additionally, the waste fluid has excreted onto the surface and the liquid has flowed onto an adjacent property, according to the lawsuit.

A neighbor told KXAN the septic system has been overflowing and discharging onto his property for some time. Proof & Cooper is located at 18800 Hamilton Pool Road, near the City of Bee Cave.

“Proof & Cooper, LLC, and Double Barrel Holdings, LLC, have been discharging or exposing -or allowing the discharge or exposure of-sewage in a manner that could potentially transmit disease to a person or between people,” the lawsuit states.

Travis County, The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and The Texas Department of State Health Services are all listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed June 1. Defendants include Proof & Cooper, LLC and Double Barrel Holdings, LLC, which are both associated with the downtown Rainey Street bar Blackheart and operator Howard L. Miller.

Lee Moffett, who lives on the neighboring property, said his family has occupied the land since the 1870s, and they’ve been trying to resolve the sewage issue.

“It just overflows and goes into the pasture.” — Lee Moffett, resident of the neighboring property.

“It just overflows and goes into the pasture,” Moffett told KXAN, regarding the sewage.

According to the lawsuit, Travis County notified Miller that the property’s septic system license did not cover the load of a full-service restaurant. The county investigated the property on Dec. 23, 2015, and again on March 22, 2016, in response to complaints.

Proof & Cooper and Double Barrel Holdings did not return phone calls seeking comment. A manager at Proof & Cooper said, “no comment,” by email.

The defendants could face steep fines. Each day the alleged health code violations occurred can result in a penalty between $50 and $5,000, and the county believes the violations began, at least, Dec. 23, 2015, according to the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, the county documented “nuisance conditions” during both investigations, and “there have been numerous other sewage discharges.”

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