UPDATE ON GRUBTUBS INC. COMPLAINT PROCESS
BUDA, TX (Oct. 23, 2019) - The City of Buda is continuing to receive complaints from neighbors of the GrubTubs’ facility. To date, the City’s Code Enforcement division has fielded 292 resident complaints and the City’s Municipal Court has received 44 resident complaints alleging criminal nuisance.
At the Oct. 15, 2019 Buda City Council meeting, the City authorized the City Attorney’s Office to try to resolve these matters through a civil lawsuit, in addition to the criminal proceedings, if the matter cannot otherwise be resolved. The City Attorney has been authorized to file a civil lawsuit, seeking civil penalties of up to $1,000 per day, injunctive relief to stop GrubTubs from interfering with the neighboring property owners’ rights to use their property free from nuisance and a court order directing GrubTubs to halt its activities that continue to violate the City’s odor ordinance. The City has also received odor complaints that were made to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Actions (Updated October 22, 2019)
As of October 16, 2019, the TCEQ Austin Regional Office has conducted seven odor surveys in the nearby neighborhood and conducted five on-site investigations, on: March 21, 2018; March 15, 2019; June 11, 2019; July 9, 2019; and October 3, 2019, in response to complaints received about GrubTubs, Inc.
Two Notices of Violation were issued to GrubTubs, Inc. as a result of investigations on March 15 and June 11, 2019. During the July 9, 2019 investigation these violations were still present, so TCEQ issued a Notice of Enforcement to GrubTubs, Inc. on August 21, 2019, for continuing violations at the facility that are contributing to off-site odors, and referred GrubTubs, Inc. for formal enforcement.
A proposed agreed order was mailed to GrubTubs, Inc. on October 21, 2019. The proposed order contains information on the administrative penalty, alleged violations, and required corrective action. The Commission and GrubTubs, Inc. have until December 20, 2019 to reach a settlement on the terms of the order and the penalty (60 days from the date of the letter transmitting the proposed order).
If a settlement is reached, the matter will be published in the Texas Register for a 30-day public comment period, before being scheduled for a Commission agenda meeting for consideration. An order is not effective until approved by the Commission.
If a settlement cannot be reached on the proposed agreed order and penalty, the case will be referred to TCEQ’s Litigation Division and may result in an evidentiary hearing (contested case process). The hearing process is governed by the Administrative Procedures Act (Government Code Ch. 2001) as well as TCEQ rules and procedural rules adopted by the State Office of Administrative Hearings.
TCEQ’s enforcement process explains the phases of action that can occur when violations are documented.
TCEQ will continue to respond to citizen complaints regarding the facility and is working with both Hays County and the City of Buda regarding this compliance issue. In addition to TCEQ, the City of Buda is also investigating odors per their City Nuisance Ordinance in Article 12.02.
Citizens who wish to make an environmental complaint within TCEQ’s jurisdiction can find more information at: https://www.tceq.texas.gov/compliance/complaints.