On Friday morning, EPWater experienced another break in its Frontera Force Main at a point near the Frontera Lift station, located at Frontera Road and Doniphan Drive in West El Paso, resulting in a wastewater to spill into the intersection.
“This is the same line that has seen other breaks in recent weeks,” utility officials said. “To minimize the impact to residents and businesses in the area, crews worked to divert wastewater to El Paso Water property that is adjacent to the lift station.”
The wastewater is currently being directed from EPWater property into the stormwater system, where it eventually empties into the Rio Grande near the area of Paisano Drive and Racetrack Drive.
Even though the wastewater is heavily diluted in the river, EPWater advises the public to avoid contact with the river water. Our river treatment plants stopped treating water for the season last week. At this time, the amount of wastewater discharged is not known as crews are still working to contain it and estimate it may take days to complete repairs.
No water or wastewater services have been affected in the nearby area. The public drinking water supply was not impacted nor is it at risk.
The two northbound lanes of Doniphan Drive at Frontera Road are closed until further notice. Traffic is being diverted through the median on Doniphan Dr. while crews make repairs.
Although it was determined that the public water supply was not affected, EPWater customers or persons who purchase water from another public water supply may contact their water supply distributor to determine if the water is safe for personal use.
Persons using private drinking water supply wells located within 1/2-mile of the spill site or within the potentially affected area should use only water that has been distilled or boiled at a rolling boil for at least one minute for all personal uses including drinking, cooking, bathing, and tooth brushing. Individuals with private water wells should have their well water tested and disinfected, if necessary, prior to discontinuing distillation or boiling.
Officials say that the public should avoid contact with wastewater or soil in the area affected by the main break. If contact is made, it is advised to bathe and wash clothes thoroughly as soon as possible.
EPWater notified the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the appropriate local government officials, as required. Additionally, EPWater will work with the regional TCEQ office on any other necessary remediation requirements.
If citizens have questions about the spill, they may contact Felipe Lopez, Chief Operations Officer at El Paso Water at 915-594-5530.