GrubTubs grumbles: Neighbors and county inspector report more problems with flies

Hays

Company owner says GrubTubs will be moving by the end of the year

BUDA, Texas (KXAN) — A composting facility in Buda is back in the spotlight.

Neighbors are complaining about an increase of flies in their homes.

A Hays County inspector confirms with KXAN that the flies are coming from GrubTubs operations.

It’s located on Old Black Colony Road across the street from two subdivisions.

Guillermo Gonzalez’s backyard is directly across the street.

When he and his family stepped onto their porch yesterday, a pleasant evening turned into a pestilent one.

“We’re covered in flies galore,” says his wife as she records a video.

“I understand there’s going to be flies when someone’s cooking outdoors, but not like that. That’s just too much,” Gonzalez says.

Gonzalez has lived in his home for five years and says the flies have gotten worse since GrubTubs moved in across the street.

“The odor is one thing, but to have this infestation of flies it’s totally different. That’s completely out of hand,” he says.

A few houses down, Ed Williams says he’s had the same problem.

“The flies would show up by the thousands. The walls would be covered around the house. I used to put fly traps out, two bags a week,” Williams says.

GrubTubs owner Robert Olivier didn’t want to go on camera today but told KXAN that he’s just as concerned as neighbors about the increase in flies.

“I’m bothered by this as well,” he told KXAN’s Tahera Rahman over the phone.

He says he’s noticed them on his property, too, but insists that they’re not coming from him and is also trying to figure out where they’re coming from and how to get rid of them.

“Whatever fly was in that video, we’re not breeding them,” Olivier says.

“We’ve lived in a more country setting; the stable for the horses and the cows was closer to our house than GrubTub[s] and we didn’t have near the flies,” Williams says.

Hays County’s development services department handles septic inspections.

An inspector was at GrubTubs last week.

Director Caitlyn Strickland tells us while the inspector couldn’t pinpoint the source, he says the flies are coming from somewhere on GrubTubs property.

He says it was the most flies he’d ever seen on that property and that they’re attracted to the bacteria on the site.

And in that case, Gonzalez sees only one solution.

“If it is coming from there, they’ve got to move. They have to move, it’s that simple,” he says.

Olivier tells KXAN he is planning to vacate the Buda property by December 31st and will be splitting operations into two locations, one in Hays County and the other in Travis County.

Olivier says exact locations are confidential at this time.

COMPLAINTS

There are three agencies handling complaints about GrubTubs right now. We checked in with all of them:

  • The city of Buda is handling potential violations of it’s odor ordinance. Last week, a jury found GrubTubs not guilty in one criminal complaint. There are 56 more pending in municipal court.
  • Hays County monitors sewage and says the company’s septic system is out of compliance. An inspector is supposed to check on that again tomorrow.
  • The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is monitoring GrubTubs’ air quality. A spokesperson says their most recent investigation of GrubTubs was conducted on October 3rd in response to four odor complaints. The investigation is currently ongoing. The enforcement case is also still in settlement.

A spokesperson for the City of Buda says it’s in the process of negotiating a settlement for Grub Tubs’ pending legal issues.

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