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Home | Tag Archives: epw

Tag Archives: epw

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.”

PSB Approves FY 2018-19 Budget, Rates and Fees

Wednesday morning, the Public Service Board (PSB) approved the El Paso Water Budget for fiscal year 2018-19 for its water, wastewater, reclaimed water and stormwater utilities.

“As El Paso’s population grows, we must continue to develop new water resources and extend infrastructure to serve new developments of homes and businesses,” said EPWater President and CEO John Balliew. “We also aim to improve system reliability and customer service.”

The new budget includes an 8% water/wastewater rate increase and a 2% stormwater fee increase.  Together, these translate into an increase of $4.06 per month for a typical homeowner.

The $490 million water, wastewater and reclaimed water budget enables El Paso Water to replace aging infrastructure, improve reliability and secure future water supplies.  The utility has also prioritized investment in a new customer information system and will continue staffing improvements and technology upgrades to improve customer satisfaction.

The $51.1 million stormwater budget will help expand flood control projects, maintain the existing stormwater system, and continue to set aside 10 percent of funds for dual-purpose ponds and open space projects.

“El Paso Water is trying to be proactive by repairing and replacing deteriorating infrastructure,” said Mayor Dee Margo. “We need to be prepared, and build for the future.”

Via a news release, PSB officials said, “Even with this year’s rate and fee increases, El Paso’s monthly water charges are well below those of other large Texas cities and other Texas border cities…and on a national scale, El Paso’s water and wastewater rates are less than half of the national average of $140 per month.”

Officials added, “Conservation is the key to reducing water bills for residential and business customers. The rate structure is designed to provide relief for low water users while charging a premium 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 38,000 monthly customer bills.”

The PSB also gave EPWater approval to enter into discussions with Project Amistad, a local non-profit, on an affordability program to help those who struggle to pay their monthly bill.

The approved budgets, rates and fees will go into effect at the start of the fiscal year, which begins March 1, 2018.

Summer Sandbag Distribution Schedule Begins June 26

Customers can get sandbags for flood control seven days a week beginning Monday, June 26.

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.

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

El Paso Water does not charge for sandbags.

The expanded site locations and hours will be available through Sept. 30.

Summer Distribution Locations & Schedule June 26 – End of September
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.

Video+Story: Saturday’s Water Festival Showcases the Role of Water in our Lives

El Paso Water is hosting the 18th annual Water Festival, a free event featuring interactive educational activities that are fun for all but especially geared to school-aged children.

The celebration coincides with Drinking Water Week, an observance sponsored each year by the American Water Works Association for communities to recognize the essential role that drinking water plays in our daily lives.

The Festival will promote awareness and protection of our water resources in the Chihuahuan Desert, and visitors will gain a new appreciation for water quality, conservation and stormwater management.

Thanks to several partnering organizations and various water experts, 42 booths will be available for visitors to engage with experiments, interactive displays and competitive games.

Water harvesting demonstrations, presentations about native bees, and Rio Grande flow displays are just a few of the planned exhibits.

WHAT: TecH2O Water Festival

WHEN: Saturday, May 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

WHERE: TecH2O Learning Center at 10751 Montana Ave.

For more information call (915) 621-2000.

 

Video+Story: Rio Grande Water Arrives in El Paso

El Paso received its first allotment of water from the Rio Grande Monday; the first flow of what will eventually total approximately 50,000 acre feet of river water for this season, or 40 percent of total water demands.

Via a Facebook post, EPW Officials said, “The amount of water we receive from the river plays a critical role in our water management strategies. The more water we receive, the less we need to pull from the local aquifers. It allows the aquifers to recharge, which makes us better prepared for any future drought conditions.”

A video shows water reaching the Jonathan W. Rogers Water Treatment Plant Monday afternoon.

In total, the plant will receive approximately 20 million gallons of water in just one day.  This year’s allotment is comparable to last year.

Officials add, “We have seen a steady increase in our total allotments but still remain below pre-drought levels”

According to EPW’s Website, El Paso Water Utilities supplies about 90% of all municipal water in El Paso County.  Surface water is supplied from the Rio Grande.  The Rio Grande flows that are diverted in the El Paso area are primarily derived from snowmelt runoff in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico.   Spring runoff is stored in Elephant Butte Reservoir in southern New Mexico before releases are made for irrigation and municipal use in southern New Mexico and the El Paso area.

The allotment will run from April through the end of September.

Crews Continue Expansion of Gateway Pond; Capacity Will Prevent Flooding

Commuters who look to the south while traveling east on Interstate Highway 10 can watch the progress of one the latest El Paso Water stormwater projects.

Just past the Copia Street exit, contractors are expanding the Gateway stormwater detention pond.

Rainfall follows nature’s stormwater system; it flows through arroyos and natural channels and creates ponds and streams that are absorbed by the land. But development obstructs these natural flow paths, which causes flooding during severe rain storms.

Workers completing Gateway stormwater detention pond. | Photo courtesy ECM International
Workers completing Gateway stormwater detention pond. | Photo courtesy ECM International

Because the central neighborhoods of El Paso were developed without adequate drainage infrastructure, the elevated portion of I-10 would block stormwater flows during heavy rain events. This periodically led to freeway flooding in the area between Cotton and Piedras streets and along Gateway West Boulevard.

Resolving the issue is a multi-phase, multi-million dollar problem that included building upstream ponds to capture and reduce the water’s velocity and improving dams that control its release.

The Gateway Pond collects water that might otherwise disrupt traffic by flooding the freeway and adjacent frontage road.

Work on the north side of I-10 began in 2012 with the 18-foot deep “Gateway West” stormwater detention pond, which was originally designed to capture 3.5 million gallons of stormwater flows.

In subsequent years, the pond was lined with concrete, expanded and excavated to its current 50-foot depth.

Work on the opposite side of the freeway began in 2015 with the construction of the 28-foot

WEST SLOPE West
Gateway stormwater detention pond off of I-10 west. | Photo courtesy ECM International

deep “Gateway East” stormwater pond.

A tunnel built under the freeway houses a 60-inch equalization pipe that will connect the pond’s two sides.

The project scope expanded when EPWater acquired adjacent properties, and now the east pond, like the west pond, will be 50-feet deep this summer when the project is complete.

The two sides will work as one pond that helps protect I-10 during heavy rainstorms by taking 52 million gallons of stormwater off the street.

Officials with EPWater say the high-profile Gateway Pond expansion is one several drainage improvement projects currently under construction.

Projects are also underway in the central, northeast, and northwest El Paso.

PSB Hears Proposed Water and Wastewater Budget and Rates for 2017

In the second of two budget workshops Monday evening, El Paso Water leaders presented the proposed  2017-18 water, wastewater and reclaimed water budget to the Public Service Board (PSB).

The PSB heard details of a proposed $463.6 million dollar budget that funds the Utility’s operations along with projects to rehabilitate, modernize and expand systems to meet the needs of El Paso’s growing population.

Last year, the PSB received a 5-year financial outlook from the Utility that projected an 8 percent increase for this coming fiscal year, but staff was credited with finding efficiencies, resulting in an adjusted recommendation to the PSB for a 7 percent rate increase instead.  That translates into an additional $3.64 per month on the average customer bill.

“As El Paso’s population grows, we must continue to diversify our water supply to serve the needs of our City not just for today but for the next generation, said EPWater President and CEO John Balliew. “Just as important, we must rehabilitate aging infrastructure, improve our safety and security systems and upgrade our technology to be more efficient and hold down costs.”

In FY 2017-2018, EPWater proposes to take the initial steps toward increasing the capacity of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant, make additional land acquisitions for water importation and begin designing an advanced water purification facility that transforms cleaned wastewater into a safe, reliable drinking water supply.

More than 700 miles of El Paso’s water lines are 40 years or older, and half the wells are more than 30 years old. The proposed budget funds rehabilitation of several wells and replacement of aging pipelines.

Also included are upgrades to plants, reservoirs, the International Water Quality Laboratory and our security and information systems.

El Paso’s population is projected to increase more than 40 percent by 2040. The proposed budget funds extending water lines into new areas, building reservoirs and pump stations, and drilling wells to increase reliability and prepare for growth.

Even with the proposed rate increase, average water and wastewater bills will remain among the lowest in the region and other arid communities. The rate structure rewards customers who conserve water.

Currently in an average month, about 11% of customer bills receive a waiver of the water supply replacement charge because they use less than 3 CCFs (2,244 gallons) per month.

The Utility is proposing to raise that threshold to less than 4 CCFs (2,992 gallons) per month – which could result in 17% of customer bills receiving a waiver.  The move could enable conservative water users to reduce their monthly bill by about $10 per month, or $120 per year.

Monthly Water and Wastewater Bill Current Proposed Change
Residential – 3ccf

 

33.06 25.96 (7.10)
Residential – 11cf 46.08 49.72 3.64

 


Timeline for Review and Approval

Public comment is encouraged at the upcoming regular PSB meeting on December 14 and January 11. The PSB will approve final water, wastewater and reclaimed water and stormwater budgets at the meeting on January 11.

Both meetings begin at 8:00 am at 1154 Hawkins. The PSB-approved budget and fees go into effect at the beginning of the fiscal year, which begins March 1, 2017.

El Paso Water Utilities Unveils new Logo, Name

El Paso Water Utilities is changing its name and look to offer a clear message—We are El Paso Water.

“This logo is simple, modern and easily recognizable. Along with a new name, the logo reflects our efforts to provide diverse and innovative water resources to a growing El Paso region,” said El Paso Water President and CEO John Balliew. 7P9B0192

With oversight by the Public Service Board, El Paso Water provides water, wastewater, reclamation and stormwater management services.

The utility serves approximately 800,000 people in the El Paso region.

El Paso Water has also been recognized as a national leader for its innovative water supply strategy that includes water reuse, inland desalination and conservation.

The new logo will be officially unveiled Thursday at the El Paso Chihuahua’s home game at Southwest University Park.

 

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