Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

First Welcome to SXSW Visitors? Austin's Compost Fire Stench

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Austin Water is still working with the fire department to extinguish an ongoing compost fire at the Hornsby Bend Biosolids Plant.

The fire started at the waste management facility more than two weeks ago, on Monday, Feb. 25. While water utility officials have seen a reduction of smoke from the smoldering heaps – especially with help from a rainy weekend – the surrounding area still smells.

The Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant is located just 3.8 miles from the Austin-Bergstrom International Terminal: basically directly across the street from the airport.

The compost fire could've picked a better time to show up. With the South by Southwest Conference and Festivals here, the fire – and mostly the smell – isn’t exactly the best welcome for SXSW visitors looking to get their first taste (or whiff) of Austin.

One Twitter user's first impression of Austin? It smells weird:

And Noonan isn't alone. Austinites @awesomejoolie, @GoodOleBonnie, and @fred_mcgee, all comment on the “stink-ay,” “terrible,” “burning rubber” smell emanating from the Hornsby Bend facility.

While the smell isn't welcoming, Austin Water reports that air quality monitoring shows there are no toxins that would threaten the public.

Austin Water expects a continued reduction of the smoke throughout the week . It will continue to provide updates until the fire is out.

Related Content