BASTROP COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) – Some homeowners in Bastrop County say the air is making them and their pets sick.
Michael Hill doesn’t spend a lot of time outdoors anymore at his home off of State Highway 21, about five miles southeast of the Circuit of the Americas. In fact, he says he’s grateful for the few days he can actually smell the clean air.
“When that thing goes off, forget it,” Hill said. “It makes you gag.” Hill is referring to his neighbor’s septic tank and says it’s been spraying raw sewage for more than six months now. He says his family has complained to the Bastrop County Department of Health and Sanitation, but there’s been no relief.
Hill believes he’s getting sick because of it and so are his two dogs, “They are vomiting in the house, because they’re outside chewing on the grass and running around.”
The county says the septic tank next door is too small and overloaded. A county manager tells KXAN investigator Arezow Doost that the homeowners have filed an application to upgrade the tank, but the design hasn’t been approved yet. They filed the permit in May and have up to 30 days to fix the problem, but since it’s been five months the county says it can now charge the homeowners with public nuisance.
The homeowners say they’re working on fixing the septic tank and either installing a new one or getting a bigger one. The county says this kind of concern is starting to become a problem in some areas and they only have to two inspectors to check on about 6,000 of these types of septic tanks.
The county isn’t sure if it’s raw sewage that’s being sprayed at this point, because it hasn’t been tested. Hill says he also called the state, but Texas Commission on Environmental Quality says septic systems are under the county jurisdiction.
In the meantime, Hill says he’s fed up and just prays every day that the wind shifts directions. “When that thing sprays you gotta close all the windows up,” said Hill. He says they too have a similar septic tank and pay to have it inspected every few months.