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.”
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.”