Venue owned by famous Texas BBQ family under investigation over construction runoff

Hays

DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas (KXAN) — One of the biggest names in Texas barbeque is facing a new challenge. 

The Black family’s planned wedding venue is under investigation by the city of Dripping Springs and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.  

Neighbors of “Black Ranch” say construction run-off has flowed into a nearby creek. Some have been against the project from the start. 

An early morning discovery

Murky water: a startling sight for sisters Anne and Sarah Taylor, whose 10-acre backyard hugs a typically clean crystal creek. 

“I hope it’s fixable. I don’t know what’s in there,” Sarah Taylor said. 

On Tuesday morning they found the water dirty and discolored. It’s the latest issue they say comes from the Black Ranch just up the hill. They say this most recent problem has real consequences for the area.

“This is eventually going to flow into the neighborhoods downstream from us, Bear Creek Estates, specifically. When they get this flowing through their neighborhood, they are not going to be too happy.” 

The explanation

“I don’t want silt and limestone to be going into the creek but this is something that happens when there is a big flood and we are going to take care of it,” said Mark Black, part-owner and developer of the project. 

Black said the run-off is an unfortunate consequence of recent rain that flooded the property. He admits some sediment barriers broke down, but said there are no chemicals on-site being dumped, just dust from the limestone. 

“We are in total compliance with the TCEQ and the city of Dripping Springs and we will continue to be from here on out.”  

While TCEQ was on site to investigate Tuesday, Black said his team will continue to push forward. 

TCEQ investigators have up to 60 days to finish a report once a complaint is filed. The City of Dripping Springs launched their own investigation after visiting the site last week.

“We know we are going about it the right way and we are excited for it to be done because we want people to see what we are really doing out here,” Black said.   

Busy investigating

The TCEQ can fine businesses if it’s needed. 

It conducted more than 100,000 investigations during the last fiscal year. That led to almost 1,400 administrative orders and $7.5 million in penalties. 

The agency can fine organizations as much as $25,000 a day.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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