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Home | Tag Archives: El Paso water

Tag Archives: El Paso water

City, County, Law Enforcement and EP Water partner to battle illegal dumping

At a news conference recently held at the El Paso Zoo, several local agencies, law enforcement and community members teamed up to redouble their efforts to battle illegal dumping in El Paso County.

Assistant County Attorney Cristina Viesca-Santos said her office takes environmental crimes seriously.

In 2018, they prosecuted six cases and they are on pace to double that this year with five prosecuted so far. But the County Attorney’s Office, El Paso Police, El Paso Water, El Paso Environmental Services and El Paso County Water Improvement District #1 know there are far more occurrences than prosecution numbers may indicate.

“If you see illegal dumping, pull out your phone and record the incident,” Viesca-Santos said. “Get video and take photos of the vehicle’s license plate number, of the person disposing the waste and the type of waste being dumped. And please report it.”

This type of information is needed to prosecute an illegal dumping case, especially since it’s difficult for law enforcement to catch people in the act.

Law enforcement and County Attorneys need the identity of the offender, which is the reason the video and photos play an integral part.

“Every time we have a storm in El Paso, we have a blocked storm drain from something that was dumped illegally,” said EPWater Vice President Alan Shubert. “We’ve found car bumpers, stoves, furniture, beds, and even entire automobiles. Flooding puts the community at risk.”

The agencies are collaborating on an illegal dumping outreach campaign that encourages citizens to be watchful, take a stand and report illegal dumping. Campaign messages are being shared on billboards, bus benches and shelters, radio, the internet and social media.

Kurt Fenstermacher, Director of El Paso Environmental Services, says the public can call 3-1-1 to request cleanups of illegally-dumped waste.

“Our crews spend countless hours removing thousands of pounds of trash,” he said. “Tell your friends and family members this is NOT how we treat our community. Spread the word to call 3-1-1.”

3-1-1 operators can provide the addresses and hours of operation for the five Citizen Collection Centers where the community can properly dispose of household waste.

For more information, please visit DontTrashep.org.

As Summer approaches, EP Water preps wells for demand

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.

Engineer Joe Moreno of Brown and Caldwell told visitors that Well 42A is a replacement for the old Well 42, which had collapsed and was no longer able to produce water.

“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.

Owls in danger receive new home

An unusual visitor started making regular appearances at the construction site of the Thomas Manor Park Pond Improvement project a few months ago.

As construction workers and engineers worked to deepen the pond and expand the stormwater infrastructure, they discovered an owl in the area.

“We got a call from the contractor that there was an owl living on the site,” said El Paso Water Project Manager Ryan Stubbs. “It was living in a spot where they had done some work. It moved over to another spot and kept moving to different areas of the project.”

After discussing the matter with the project consultants and the landscape architects, the decision was made to contact Texas Parks and Wildlife.

“They were very concerned about the owl living in a drainage pipe because they were going to have to move that pipe,” said Lois Balin, Urban Wildlife Biologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife. “I went and assessed the situation to see what we could do.”

A protected bird

Photo courtesy EP Water

The owl living in the drainage pipe is a male burrowing owl, a bird federally protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Burrowing owls are listed as Endangered in Canada and Threatened in Mexico.

They are a Bird of Conservation Concern at the national level in three U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regions, and they are listed as a Species of Concern at the state level.

“The workers were sure there was a pair (of owls) in the area,” Balin said. “I started looking for evidence of a pair because we were approaching breeding season.”

Because of their special status in the state, Balin said it’s especially important not to disrupt owls while they are breeding. But because it was early on in the season, there was a possibility the female owl had not begun laying eggs. Using some cameras, Balin looked for evidence of a nest.

“Luckily for the project, it hadn’t laid any eggs yet,” Balin said. “So I knew it was okay to make a habitat for them in a safer area. The owls would find it and move in on their own.”

A team effort

Photo courtesy EP Water

Balin builds habits for burrowing owls, but she usually installs them alone with a shovel. It typically takes her an entire day to dig and bury the habitats. But the contractors were not going to let her tackle that project by herself.

“They were so helpful,” Balin said. “I’ve never worked with a more delightful crew. They brought their heavy equipment, which made it so easy and efficient.”

With the help of the crews, two underground shelters with built-in tunnels were quickly installed in less than an hour. One shelter is for the female, nest and hatchlings.

The second shelter is the “man cave” where the male will sleep when he is not hunting or guarding the other burrow.

“They seem to be doing just fine,” construction Foreman Jerry Patton said. “We wondered how long it would take them to find it. Lois said they would find it right away. We were kind of doubtful. But we noticed two days later, they had moved in.”

Community help needed

Photo courtesy EP Water

For Gisela Dagnino, Engineering Division Manager for Stormwater Technical Servies, the owls have been an excellent reminder that although EPWater projects provide great benefit to the community, they may impact wildlife and nature.

“We have to be mindful of the community, but also of the flora and fauna that we may disrupt,” Dagnino said. “I believe our projects can be successful and beautiful without having a permanent detrimental effect on nature. It was up to us to make these owls safe.”

As the project comes to a close, EPWater and Texas Parks and Wildlife will work with the landscape architects to ensure that the area has the open space the owls need to thrive. According to Balin, additional warning signs and perhaps some form of soft fencing will be installed to protect the birds from human intrusion. Thomas Manor Park is scheduled to be in full use by the fall of 2019.

“El Paso Water, Parks and Recreation, the consultants and the construction company should be commended for protecting these birds,” Balin said. “El Paso is fortunate and blessed to have these adorable, little owls living amongst us. They eat all kinds of insects and rodents, so they’re good for the environment. But we all need to appreciate them, at a distance.”

Op-Ed: Purified water safeguards public’s health

When you brush your teeth each morning, do you ever pause to think about how that fresh water arrives at your tap?

Beyond the water tanks, pumps and pipelines that deliver water to your home, there is also a carefully engineered design process to produce cost-effective, high-quality water through advanced technologies.

Water utilities provide a critical, basic service to communities. They are actually at the cornerstone of public health, yet we take for granted our basic water and wastewater services and the public health benefits they provide.

As a health professional, it’s concerning to see how many places around the globe lack basic water and wastewater infrastructure. Lack of sanitary systems to properly drain sewage are the leading cause of waterborne disease worldwide.

Water-scarce countries, in particular, face both water quality and quantity challenges. Countries like the United States, however, have systems in place that separate wastes and contaminants from water, achieving public health principles at the most fundamental level.
A solution to supply needs

Like El Paso, many growing cities in arid regions must overcome growth challenges and innovate to serve increasing numbers of homes and businesses. El Pasoans know that every drop of water counts. We see constant reminders with limited rainfall and long-term river drought. This year, we have yet to see the Rio Grande flow through our city and will only receive three out of six months of our usual water supply.

El Paso is prepared for drought because of our wise investments in desalination and water reuse. For over 30 years, El Paso Water has treated wastewater to drinking water standards and returned it to the aquifer so that it’s there when we need it.

El Paso’s next logical step in water reuse is to purify treated wastewater to drinking water standards with advanced technologies, so that it can go directly into our water distribution system. The process involves a multi-barrier approach that combines advanced filtration and disinfection technologies designed for public health protection.

The redundancy provided by the different types of treatment technologies effectively removes some of the most-resistant contaminants. Purified water is among the highest quality drinking water produced, yet some question the safety of using purified water as a drinking water source.

Human health risk assessments have been conducted to evaluate the likelihood of infection or illness through contact with purified water. Interestingly, assessment outcomes inspire confidence, but false perceptions of associated health risks have hindered acceptance of this drinking water source.

Highly engineered treatment processes allow us to treat wastewater in methods mimicking the natural water cycle. We are already exposed to recycled water because many upstream communities, such as Albuquerque, have wastewater treatment plants that discharge effluent into the Rio Grande, which then is treated for our drinking water.

As a member of the National Water Research Institute Advisory Panel that has reviewed the full-scale pilot for this facility, I can assure you the holistic approach to purification provides the necessary public health safeguards. Continuous water quality monitoring by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality provides oversight and accountability.

EPWater is designing the Advanced Water Purification Facility to send purified water straight to your tap. The quantity – 10 million gallons per day – will get us through a dreaded drought year when river water doesn’t arrive at all.

***

Dr. Kristina D. Mena, a water microbiologist, is an associate professor of environmental sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Mena is secretary-treasurer for the Public Service Board, which governs El Paso Water.

 

 

***

The El Paso Herald-Post welcomes all guest columns, open letters, letters to the Editor and analysis pieces for publication, to submit a piece or for questions regarding guidelines, please email us at news@epheraldpost.com

Video+Story: EP Water’s Pipe Tapping Team eyes top state prize

At El Paso Water, Eddie Pulido, Armando Gonzalez, Norberto Olmos and Julio Soto make important daily contributions as a construction superintendent, utility pipelayers and a lead service worker.

On April 4, the four water distribution colleagues will take their places as coach, setter, cranker and copper during the Texas section of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) Pipe Tapping Competition in Houston.

EPWater’s pipe tapping team members are eyeing the top prize, and it’s not just a pipe dream.

“We have a good team, and we know we are capable,” said Pulido, the coach. “We set the bar and decided this year we are going for all the marbles.”

The friendly competition is intense, pitting utility teams in a race that simulates connecting a copper pipe from a water meter to a water main.

It’s a contest that requires precision, strength and speed, all while maintaining the highest level of safety and quality. Errors, such as leaks or safety missteps, may result in penalty time added to their results. Winning times clock in under the 2-minute mark.

Each team member’s role counts, said Gonzalez, making teamwork and communication of utmost importance. If anything starts to go wrong, it can affect the entire team.

“If the team doesn’t communicate, it results in penalties,” said Soto, the copper. “I think we perform well under pressure. We are ready.”

“When we balance our roles, it’s like a dance,” said Olmos, the cranker. “We have to work together. These guys are like family. It’s a team effort, with a lot of communication.”

Gonzalez, the setter, loves being part of the team. Nothing feels better than garnering support from EPWater management and co-workers, including the support of family and friends from his native hometown of Monterrey, Mexico.

“When a video of our performance went on YouTube, family and friends were so proud,” Gonzalez said, who has worked at EPWater 12 years. Gonzalez frequently reminds his teammates they are the first team from the utility to compete.

The team has picked up valuable tips from winning teams over the years, Soto said.

“They told me I was really good and gave me ideas on how to perform faster,” Soto said, who has worked at EPWater five years. Trading work tips and the experience of competing translates into skills he can put to work in the field, he added.

Felipe Lopez, Distribution and Collection Systems Division Manager, said the team has support from the field office but would like to see their fan base grow.

“These guys have put in three hours of their own time to practice on Saturdays on top of working all week and on top of working their stand-by crew shifts at night,” Lopez said. “They have been out here more than they have been home.”

The winner on April 4 advances to compete in June at AWWA’s Annual Conference and Exposition in Denver.

El Paso Water Inspectors Take on Fats, Oils and Grease

El Paso Water’s Kyle Eckert and Luis Velasquez have heard all about the giant ball of grease – weighing 130 tons – that recently threatened to flood London’s streets with wastewater.

The pretreatment inspectors for Environmental Compliance and Industrial Pretreatment want you to know that EPWater is working toward a cleaner city one drain at a time.

Utility FOG inspectors aim to make sure London’s problem doesn’t become El Paso’s by educating restaurant staffs across the city. Their goal is to prevent wastewater blockages by teaching El Pasoans how to properly dispose of fats, oils and grease (FOG).

London’s giant mass – aka fatberg – formed when cooking oil and other fats were flushed down drains. From there, flushed FOG accumulated with other discarded materials , such as wipes and diapers.

The message is simple, Eckert said. “Be informed, be aware of what you are dumping down the drain and how it will impact the

Photo courtesy EP Water

community,” Eckert tells restaurant owners and managers.

Both Eckert and Velasquez have worked at wastewater plants and are familiar with the damage FOG can wreak.

“People want information on FOG,” Velasquez said. “The people we talk to want to know what’s wrong, how it’s wrong and how they can fix it.”

“We work very hard to minimize the impacts to the wastewater system, but we must rely heavily on individuals and businesses taking personal responsibility for what is poured down their drains,” said Sonia Wyatt, Code Compliance Manager.

During an inspection to a popular bakery on the East Side, Eckert trained Velasquez on EPWater’s FOG program, which regulates the discharge, transportation and disposal of FOG. Both checked the bakery’s grease trap to ensure compliance standards had been met.

What they found, though, was a grease trap brimming with fats, food waste and red chile sauce, the kind used for menudo and red chile tamales.

Photo courtesy EP Water

“It can get bad enough that the grease trap or pipe can no longer do its job,” Eckert said.

The FOG inspectors’ message is especially important Inspectors find FOGaround the holiday season when El Pasoans are cooking. The message is relevant year-round, Eckert said. EPWater reminds customers about the consequences of not heeding this advice with the “Defend Your Drains” outreach campaign.

One of the best ways to enforce the FOG message is by passing on the knowledge that comes with the job, Eckert said. It also helps if you have a captive audience, like the students at Ramona Elementary students on a recent visit.

“If you tell a child, they will tell their parents as soon as they get home,” Velasquez said. “They will make sure that their parents are disposing of FOG the right way.”

For more information, visit the EP Water page on FOG.

El Paso Water Submits Budget to PSB; 4% Water, 8% Wastewater Rate Increases Proposed

El Paso Water staff presented the proposed Fiscal Year 2019-’20 water, wastewater and stormwater budgets to the Public Service Board (PSB) on Monday evening.

According to EPW officials, the PSB will now consider the combined $436.1 million budget, which proposes no increase for stormwater fees.

The officials add that, “this is a downward adjustment from last year’s projection of 6 percent.” However, the budget proposes a 4 percent increase to water rates and an 8 percent increase to wastewater rates that will result in an average increase of $3 per month for the typical homeowner.

Nearly half of next year’s proposed capital improvement budget has been allocated to address aging infrastructure.

Other priorities include new water infrastructure needed to support city growth and progress on new water supply projects to meet future demand. The proposed stormwater budget enables momentum on major flood control projects already underway while holding off on major new projects.

“Along with many other utilities across the country, rehabilitating our older facilities is a priority,” said EPWater President and CEO John Balliew. “Major upgrades at three of our wastewater facilities will improve performance, reliability, efficiency and odor control.”

Balliew added that leak detection along with age and vulnerability assessments have pointed to necessary proactive replacements of major water and wastewater pipelines. “It’s important to manage and replace pipelines that show signs of aging or deterioration to prevent increases in water main breaks,” he said.

The $41.4 million stormwater budget focuses on projects already underway that were funded in the 2018-’19 fiscal year, as well as maintaining the existing stormwater system.

“El Paso Water’s efforts to install new water tanks and extend service lines are instrumental for our thriving city,” said Mayor Dee Margo.

Affordability Even with this year’s rate increases, El Paso’s monthly water charges are the second lowest of other large Texas cities. Only Laredo’s water rates are lower, while water rates are higher in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio.

Conservation is a tool for customers looking to lower their water bills. The rate structure is designed to provide relief for low water users while charging more for high water users.

Customers using less than 4 ccfs* (2,992 gallons) of water in any given month will receive a waiver of the Water Supply Replacement Charge. Last year, this charge of $9.83 was waived on an average of 33,000 monthly customer bills.

EPWater has partnered with Project Amistad, a local nonprofit, on a customer assistance program to help elderly, lowincome customers who are at risk of disconnection. The program will provide bill payment assistance, money management counseling and help with home conservation.

If approved, the budgets, rates and fees will go into effect at the start of the fiscal year, which begins March 1, 2019.

EPWater Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Jonathan Rogers Plant

Nearly three decades ago, the area’s aquifers were being pumped heavily to meet growing demands, and El Paso Water learned from several engineering studies that El Paso was at risk of running out of water by 2030 unless major changes were made.

The utility began an aggressive conservation program to reduce water consumption, expanded water recycling and constructed a new water plant to increase the use of river water.

The then-new plant added 40 million gallons of treated river water to the system and helped reduce the strain on underground sources. It was named in honor of  four-time El Paso mayor and U.S. Army Veteran 1st Lt. Jonathan Rogers.

“As the population grows, so has the demand for water,” said Water Plant Superintendent Mike Parker. “This plant has been there to offset some of those demands, and it will continue to do so.”

In 2002, the plant was expanded to produce 60 MGD, further preserving underground supplies for future use.

Photo courtesy EP Water

As El Paso Water celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Jonathan Rogers plant, officials say the facility is an example of “how each plant not only serves the community, but also helps to protect other valuable water resources.”

In order to treat river water, the state-of-the-art facility was designed with granular activated carbon filtration and an ozone disinfection system.

The Jonathan Rogers plant was a pioneer on the frontier of the developing ozone technology, which is now known for being highly effective in removing bacteria and assuring the quality and safety of drinking water.

“The equipment and technology used to produce ozone at the plant is one of the greatest features of the plant,” said Frank Regalado, Water Plant Assistant Superintendent.

Currently, the plant is in the process of replacing the system for the latest model in a $17 million project upgrade scheduled for completion in 2019.

“I look forward to the new streamlined system and its increased efficiency in disinfection,” said Regalado.

Since 1993, the Jonathan Rogers plant has been transforming river water into drinking water, and it holds a special place in the hearts of many who work at the plant. Parker remembers the excitement of his first day at the plant. “It was new, it was innovative for the utility, and the excitement was in the air.”

Several employees of the plant have been there from the beginning and take pride in the facility.

“I’m proud to teach the newest of our employees the technology that we use at the Jonathan Rogers plant to be able to deliver high quality water to our community,” said Regalado.

Sandbag Distribution Program Returns to Regular Schedule

With rain moving into the area, El Paso Water officials remind residents that there is only one location to pick up sandbags in the city.

The Stormwater Operations Center, located at 4801 Fred Wilson, is open throughout the year. Customers can get sandbags between 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The limit is 10 bags per visit. Please bring a copy of your water bill.

Persons who cannot lift heavy items should be accompanied by someone who can assist with loading and unloading the bags.

The Central location was closed for the season at the end of September. All seasonal satellite sites will reopen next summer.

Sandbag Distribution Sites
Through Oct. 5 Beginning Oct. 6
Northeast Stormwater Operations Center

4801 Fred Wilson Ave. (map)

Mon-Fri: 8AM-8PM

Sat-Sun: 2PM-8PM

Mon-Fri: 8AM-4PM

Sat-Sun: Closed

West Artcraft Booster Station

7830 Paseo Del Norte (map)

Mon-Sun: 2PM-8PM Closed
Central Haskell R. Street Wastewater Treatment Plant

913 S. Boone St. (map)

Closed Closed
East Cielo Vista Booster Station

9428 Daugherty Drive (map)

Mon-Sun: 2PM-8PM Closed
Mission Valley Blackie Chesher Park

9292 Escobar Drive (map)

Mon-Sun: 2PM-8PM Closed

City, County Sandbag Locations Updated for Ahead of Possible Storms

El Paso Water is urging customers to obtain sandbags ahead of potentially heavy rains this week, by visiting the updated sandbag distribution site list below.

While the Haskell R. Street Wastewater Plant site on Boone street has closed for the season, customers can still obtain sandbags at any of the other 4 locations throughout El Paso.

Customers in areas prone to flooding are encouraged to have sandbags on hand before most heavy rains begin. The limit is 10 bags per visit.

El Paso Water does not charge for sandbags. Persons who cannot lift heavy items should be accompanied by someone who can assist with loading and unloading the bags.

Summer Distribution Locations & Schedule June 26 – September 30
Northeast Stormwater Operations Center
4801 Fred Wilson Ave. 79906 (map)
Mon-Fri
Sat-Sun
8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
2 p.m. – 8 p.m.
West Artcraft Booster Station
7830 Paseo Del Norte (map)
Daily 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.
East Cielo Vista Booster Station
9428 Daugherty Drive (map)
Daily 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Mission Valley Blackie Chesher Park
9292 Escobar Drive (map)
Daily 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Additionally, El Paso County Public Works crews will be prepared for this week’s possible rain and flooding situations in County areas.

The County will be ready to dispatch up to 14 water trucks, a result of the Commissioners Court’s recent investment in stormwater management, to respond to any flooding or stormwater concerns. Additionally, County crews have filled over 6,000 sand bags for the storm and have delivered sandbags to the various Emergency Service District fire stations (listed below).

The sandbags will be available for pickup by residents 24/7 at the County Road & Bridge Warehouse facilities. Residents are urged to prepare accordingly.

To report flooding on County streets and roadways, residents may directly contact the County Public Works Hotline, 24/7 during a rain event, at (915) 875-8555 or via email at FloodAssist@EPCounty.com.

Residents are reminded to avoid attempting to cross running water on a roadway and to contact 911 in the event of an emergency.

 

El Paso County Road and Bridge Warehouse:

Fabens- 1331 N. Fabens St.

Canutillo- 191 Canutillo Ave.

Montana Vista- 14698 Van Lane

 

 

ESD #1

14151 Nunda Dr.

Horizon City, TX  79928

915-852-3204

 

ESD #2

Clint Fire Department

708 FM 1110

Clint, TX  79836

915-851-0018

 

Montana Vista Fire & Rescue

13978 Montana Ave.

El Paso, TX  79938

915-857-1080

 

San Elizario Fire & Rescue

1415 San Antonio

San Elizario, TX  79849

915-851-2020

 

Socorro Fire Department

11440 N. Loop

Socorro, TX  79927

915-851-8855

 

West Valley Fire Department

510 E. Vinton Rd.

Vinton, TX  79821

915-886-2323

El Paso Water To Host ‘Science Saturday’ Event at TecH2O

From science fair project to touring a water treatment facility on wheels, El Paso Water is inviting all area families out their Science Saturday event.

Officials with El Paso Water say, “Families are in for a treat at this year’s Science Saturday event at TecH2O with chances to learn how-to create a science fair project, take part in dozens of hands-on demonstrations and tour a futuristic water treatment facility on wheels.”

The award-winning “Pure Water Trailer” mobile advanced water purification trailer, developed by a team from Tucson Water, Carollo and the University of Arizona, will make a one-day stop at TecH2O to showcase water reuse technology that holds solutions to water supply challenges in the arid southwest.

The treatment process – similar to EPWater’s planned Advanced Water Purification Facility – will transform treated wastewater into purified drinking water.

Free bottles of purified water produced by the trailer will be given to attendees while supplies last.

For additional information, call the TecH2O Center at 915-621-2001.

WHAT: Science experiments and demonstrations, hands-on activities, interactive games, lecture (Noon-1:00 p.m.) on mastering science fair projects, tours of the water reuse water treatment facility on wheels.
WHO: EPWater representatives and Science fair experts
WHEN: Saturday, September 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
WHERE: TecH2O Learning Center at 10751 Montana Ave.

Partially Treated Wastewater Spill at South-Central Water Plant Reported to TCEQ

On Friday, El Paso Water officials announced that a contractor working on improvements at the Haskell R. Street Wastewater Plant, damaged a large main that feeds partially treated wastewater into the plant on Thursday.

According to El Paso Water officials, the damage resulted in a significant leak, causing several hundred thousands of gallons of partially treated wastewater to spill into the plant at 4100 Delta Drive,at approximately 1:00p.m..

“The spill did not go beyond the plant’s boundary and has been contained. No storm drains, waterways or public drinking water supplies were impacted or at risk as a result of the spill,” officials stated via a news release.

However, EPW officials added the following information for residents who get their water from wells in the area:

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.”

Crews are working at the plant to recover the spilled wastewater and pump it back into the facility for full treatment.  Preparations for repairs are underway.

Wastewater service is not affected, but nearby residents may experience increased plant odors; these odors do not pose a public health concern.

El Paso Water notified the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) about the incident, and TCEQ representatives have visited the site and were briefed on remediation efforts.

All wastewater overflows in excess of 100,000 gallons must be reported to the TCEQ, the media and local officials.

If the public has questions on the spill, they may contact David Ornelas, Wastewater Systems Division Manager at El Paso Water at 915-594-5730.

El Paso Water Works to Beautify Facilities Throughout City

Imagine deeply rooted artistic rock walls adorned with wrought-iron detail enclosed the sleek, modern architecture of a new building. Water-smart landscaping surrounded the grounds showcasing the beauty of native El Paso flora.

Is this a luxury resort? No, but it may represent the future for some upcoming El Paso Water facility projects.

EPWater has facilities throughout El Paso that produce reliable, high quality drinking water. Others perform stormwater flood control functions with the vital task of collecting and cleaning wastewater from homes and businesses. Although they are necessary locations, they do not have to be unsightly.

“That’s one of the top priorities in the job I’m doing right now – to look at facilities and come up with recommendations to beautify them for the community,” Construction Superintendent Art Quijano said.

For future projects, EPWater will evaluate whether beautification is needed to better compliment neighborhoods. The utility is also evaluating existing structures in need of aesthetic improvements.

One of EPWater’s latest upgrades was to the Pico Norte Lift Station, a facility situated in the heart of the Pico Norte community that pumps wastewater to plants for treatment.

“We took the surrounding area into consideration, including the YMCA, Eastwood Middle School and the Pico Norte Park,” Quijano said. “We wanted it to be modern and blend in with the neighborhood, but we didn’t want it stand out. It needed to have attractive features with curb appeal.”

The redesign swapped the 1960s mansard-style roof with a sleek, flat front. The building’s newly installed metal siding was extended upward to cover rooftop equipment as well as shield the surrounding community from the noise it can produce.

LED lighting and siding materials were chosen for its look as well as long-term savings from low energy usage and durability.

Residents walking the park trails expressed delight when crews ousted the industrial looking chain-link fence and barbed wire to make way for updated rock walls, matching wrought-iron detail and an enhanced gateway.

“As we were working, they would comment, ‘Looking good. It’s about time,’” Quijano said. “They could see the difference.”

In just a few short months, Mulberry Pond in the Upper Valley will be the next project to receive a face-lift.

The site near Mulberry and Doniphan recently underwent an odor-control overhaul and will soon feature a new rock wall with wrought-iron detailing and a low-cut corner to enhance traffic visibility around the pond.

The nearby lift station will be hidden by the new wall and possibly repainted. A gate will update site security and discourage children and adults from entering the canal, which can fill up with stormwater and flood in minutes.

Quijano said Mulberry pond is located close to residential communities and feels this is an important site to tackle.

With many sites on Quijano’s radar he said, “It feels good that I can help improve the neighborhoods for so many people.”

EP Water: Three Month Closure of Portion of George Dieter Drive Begins Monday

El Paso Water will close a portion of George Dieter Drive from just before Scott Simpson Drive to just past Rex Baxter Drive starting July 9 to replace a 30-inch water main.

EPW officials say, “The project is part of the utility’s corrosion prevention program…EPWater is replacing water mains ahead of schedule to prevent potentially longer traffic delays and service disruptions.”

Southbound lanes will be converted into two-way traffic. Lane restrictions will begin at Vista Del Sol Drive and end at Pellicano Drive.

The proactive water main replacement project will help prevent a potentially larger and longer closure due to pipe corrosion issues in the area.

The closure is scheduled through the end of October, pending any additional work that may be required during the project.

Drivers should anticipate congestion and traffic slowdowns near the construction, and are encouraged to seek alternative routes. Residents on the west side of George Dieter can use westbound Rex Baxter to Billie Marie Drive to access Vista Del Sol.

Residents on the east side of George Dieter can use Scott Simpson Drive.

Summer Sandbag Distribution Schedule Begins July 6

Customers can get sandbags for flood control any day of the week beginning Friday, July 6. The expanded site locations and hours will be available through September 30.

The summer distribution sites will reopen in the Mission Valley, west, central and east areas of El Paso, and hours will be extended at the Stormwater Operations Center, which is open throughout the year.

Customers in areas prone to flooding are encouraged to have sandbags on hand before most heavy rains begin. The limit is 10 bags per visit.

El Paso Water does not charge for sandbags. Persons who cannot lift heavy items should be accompanied by someone who can assist with loading and unloading the bags.

Summer Distribution Locations & Schedule June 26 – September 30
Northeast Stormwater Operations Center
4801 Fred Wilson Ave. 79906 (map)
Mon-Fri
Sat-Sun
8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
2 p.m. – 8 p.m.
West Artcraft Booster Station
7830 Paseo Del Norte (map)
Daily 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Central Haskell R. Street Wastewater Treatment Plant
913 S. Boone St. (map)
Daily 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.
East Cielo Vista Booster Station
9428 Daugherty Drive (map)
Daily 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Mission Valley Blackie Chesher Park
9292 Escobar Drive (map)
Daily 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.
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