Lindsay Wilcox, NBC 5 News
Residents of the town of Azle say the smell coming from a nearby composting business is bad and they can't take it anymore. Meanwhile the owner of Mayer Materials is trying to correct the issue that's made worse by the weather.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is investigating complaints about a smell wafting from an Azle landfill diversion facility.
Chuck and Katy Ebert, who bought a log cabin about a mile away from the Mayer Materials several years ago, say they began smelling a horrible stench in May.
The soil manufacturing and biorecycling company composts waste and turns it into topsoil.
Until now, Mayer Materials has been a good neighbor, the Eberts said. But the odor now is so foul and constant that they can't go outside, they said.
"It is like having a herd of cows come out and leave manure all over your front porch," Chuck Ebert said. "That's what it smells like."
The company's owner, David Mayer, said a smell problem began in the spring. The company traced the odor to a volatile fatty acid it had not previously used. It was being processed in an open-air pit and quickly became a smell nuisance.
Mayer Materials invested in $20,000 tanks to contain the smell, which fixed the majority of the problem, Mayer said.
But the company has to agitate the compost piles regularly, which releases a chemical smell that is made worse in certain weather conditions, Mayer said.
"When you have a warm layer of air above warm or cooler air, it doesn't actually allow it to rise and that is what is happening in the evenings or in the mornings," he said.
"It actually creates a cap," he said.
Mayer said his company would try to turn those compost piles only during optimal weather conditions moving forward, but said the business would never be completely smell free.
Mayer Materials has been in business for seven years and has a clean compliance record with the TCEQ since it took over what was an illegal landfill in 2007.
The TCEQ investigation could take weeks or months to complete.