Photo courtesy EP Water
As the city waits to receive its shortened river supply in June, El Paso Water is closing in on a May 1 deadline to prime eight new wells for pumping fresh water into the distribution system.
“Every drop of water counts when your city is in the middle of a long-term river drought, EP Water officials shared. “EPWater will supplement El Paso’s water supply by responsibly pumping from wells to meet demand.”
Visitors to a well-equipping event earlier this month were given a behind-the-scenes tour, as crews prepared wells for the water distribution system.
The group was shown well 42A – 705-foot-deep well – and one of eight included in EPWater’s Drought Resolution Program, which was approved in July to allow for expedited procurement for drought-relief projects.
Utility Water Resources Manager Scott Reinert invited engineering consultants from Brown and Caldwell to engage visitors with details about the drought-relief project, which is about 75% complete.
Visitors learned about the multi-disciplined approach necessary to complete a well-equipping project – one that involves civil, mechanical, electrical and structural engineering.
“Hosting an event like this lets people see the efforts from the contractor, consultants and the El Paso Water staff,” Reinert said.
“It’s more cost effective to drill a whole new well,” Moreno said. “Rehab can be quite expensive, and if you rehab you are not going to get as many years like you would with a brand-new well.”
“You can spend $200,000 fixing an old well and it may last about five years, or you can spend more money on a new one and it will last 50 years,” Reinert added.
Operation of the 705 foot-deep well will soon be connected into EPWater’s Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system, said Engineer Armando Ramirez of Brown and Caldwell. Once connected, the well will be among the hundreds remotely monitored by Central Control – key to the city’s water distribution.
“Central Control has the ability to stop and start the well,” Ramirez said. “They will know how much flow, the pressure and if there’s an intrusion.”
Utility Engineering Associate Eric Jacquez was among the visitors who said he was happy to gain a wealth of knowledge about wells.
“I didn’t know the process and rules behind building a well,” Jacquez said. “This was educational and worthwhile.”
“I have worked at El Paso Water for a little over 30 years and this is the first time I saw how we search for a suitable location to drill a well, construct and make it operational,” said Oscar Chavez, Engineering Lead Technician. “It’s not as simple as I thought. I believe the public and El Paso Water employees benefit greatly from attending these events.”
Reinert expects to host another similar educational event in the fall.
“It shows what’s involved in water supply projects as well as the teamwork that’s needed to get these projects completed with aggressive scheduled requirements,” he said.