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Dillo Dirt Fire: It Smolders, Smells, and Stifles Sales

Austin firefighters are still battling compost fires at a waste processing plant near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

The fire burned at least an acre of Dillo Dirt at the Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant, which will impact sales to over 70 Austin area vendors.

Jason Hill with Austin Water says that the fire is under control, but the piles of compost are still smoldering. The blaze will impact Dillo Dirt sales, but officials are waiting until the fire cools down to determine the total impact on Dillo Dirt production.

“We’re going to assess the situation, find out how much of the compost was caught in that fire, and how much is usable or not usable,” Hill says. “So it’s still going to take a while to figure out where we are when it comes to Dillo Dirt production for the spring.”

Austin Water uses treated waste and yard trimmings from Austin residents to make the fertilizer. 

Jodi Slagle works at the plant. He says the fire, which has been burning since Monday, impacted a small swath of the Dillo Dirt that was in its final stages before packaging.

“We’re going to have to shut down vendor sales until it’s safe to reopen,” Slagle says. “We do have material that we can screen, so we can get back into operation as soon as it’s safe for us to do so.”

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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