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Home | Tag Archives: epwu

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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.

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.

El Paso Water Earns Directors Award for Water Distribution System

El Paso Water is among an elite group of utilities to earn the Partnership for Safe Water’s Directors Award for Distribution System Operations.

EPWater received this award for successfully completing a comprehensive self-assessment of distribution system operations and optimization that demonstrate the utility’s commitment to delivering safe, high quality water to the community.

“We are honored to be one of an elite group of systems to receive this award,” said EPWater CEO and President John Balliew. “Our utility’s goal is to be a leader in optimization and to continuously strive to optimize performance and provide high-quality water. The award demonstrates our ongoing commitment to protecting public health.”

The self-assessment process involves evaluation of distribution system operations and performance, identification of performance limiting factors and the development of action plans to achieve distribution system optimization. A final step involves participation by independent experts in a peer-review process, who prepare and publish a completion report.

The Partnership for Safe Water is a voluntary self-assessment and optimization program for water treatment plant and distribution system operations.

More than 250 utility subscribers, collectively serving more than 85 million people are committed to the Partnership’s goals of providing safe, high-quality drinking water through achieving operational excellence. Partnership members participate in a rigorous four-phase self-assessment and peer review process, developed by industry experts, and are recognized broadly for their commitment to delivering safe water to their communities.

EPWater was one of a select group of utilities recognized at the annual conference of the American Water Works Association on June 12, for achieving the Directors Award-level of performance within the Partnership’s Distribution System Optimization Program.

Video+Story: EPWater Honors ‘The Shack’ Restaurant for Mastering Water-Smart Habits

The Shack Wings & Brews Restaurant has always been committed to saving water, but the owners never thought they would be honored for it.

“It’s a surprise to us, and we’re grateful for the recognition because we believe in conserving water,” Co-Owner Adrian Soto said.

El Paso Water recognized The Shack Wings & Brews, located at 1883 N. Zaragoza, at its 2018 Conservation Hero event at the El Paso Chihuahuas’ baseball game.

“Of all the restaurants here in El Paso, to come out on top… wow,” General Manager Jaime Garcia said. “It’s a good feeling.”

The Shack – as well as 52 other restaurants – were screened and evaluated to become Certified Water Partners. Criteria included the responsible disposal of fats, oils and grease to protect wastewater systems, water efficient faucets, toilets, washing machines and more.

“The more water efficient products used, the bigger the point value,” said Norma Guzman, EPWater Water Conservation Specialist. “We tally up all those points and if they’ve reached a certain benchmark, then we can certify them as a partner.”

Based on scoring, The Shack ranked the highest in terms of water conservation.

Garcia has been in the restaurant industry for over 30 years and attributes the restaurant’s success to foresight and attention to detail.

“We were willing to spend a little more money to buy the commodes,” Garcia said. “We considered whether it would help us save money in the long run, and as you can see it paid off.”

Garcia said leaking faucets also have to be addressed immediately. “It’s amazing how much water you can lose with just one leaking faucet.”

For restaurants considering becoming a Certified Water Partner, Soto said, “Do your part to conserve. Every little thing counts. I thought I was the small guy in the industry, and we made an impact.”

Though restaurants can see an immediate return on water bill savings, conservation also helps ensure a sustainable water supply for El Paso’s future.

“It shows a partnership, that we’re all in it together – it’s not just residential and individual people,” Guzman said.

For more information, visit EPWater’s Conservation Heroes and Certified Water Partner pages.

City: Homeowners to Save $9 Million with Removal of Flood Plains

On Tuesday, city officials announced that some homeowners in Districts 2 and 4 will save $9 million dollars due to the City working closely with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to remove homes from the flood zone map and the Public Service Board (PSB) for making improvements to Channels 1 and 2.

“The flood zone removals were possible due to the excellent working relationship between the City, FEMA, and the PSB,” said City Manager Tommy Gonzalez. “El Paso homeowners in those districts will benefit by not being required to have flood insurance.”

“This system of integrated flood control projects is a great example of the stormwater fee at work,” said John Balliew, El Paso Water President and CEO.

“The $14.6 million Northeast flood control project significantly improves public safety and protect private property.”

The city shared the following projections, based on the number of parcels removed from the maps.  The City, FEMA, and PSB are currently working on removing flood zones in Districts 3, 6, and 7.

  • District 2 homeowners will save $1.3 million with the removal of 698 parcels
  • District 4 homeowners will save $7.7 million with the removal of 4,178 parcels.

Homeowners will benefit by

  • Lowered insurance rates or not having to pay flood insurance
  • Increased property values
  • More marketable resales
  • Better qualification for loans

Homeowners can visit the Interactive Maps on the Planning and Inspections webpage and click on the Flood Zone (NE LOMR) to check if the change affects their property.

El Paso Water Highlights Infrastructure Improvements Around City

To celebrate National Infrastructure Week with utilities across the country, EPWater is highlighting some of the many projects in and around the city.

For 2018, EP Water officials say they are investing $75 million to replace aging water and wastewater lines, rehabilitate wells and reservoirs, and make much needed upgrades to various facilities.

El Paso Water maintains over 2,653 miles of water lines buried beneath the city – enough to stretch from El Paso to the tip of Maine –  and crews are always working to upgrade the elaborate system.

With many storage tanks, pump stations, and treatment facilities working alongside stormwater structures like dams, channels and ponds; a system of this size requires continual investment in the rehabilitation of aging infrastructure, as well as new construction projects to support city growth.

One such project features EP Water crews replacing one of the oldest water storage tanks dating back to the 1920s: Jackson Ground Water Storage Tank.

To improve capacity and reliability of service for nearly 200 locations in west central El Paso, the tank is being replaced with a three-million-gallon tank, pump station and connections to the distribution system.

The project will restore the tank to its original storage capacity, ensuring reliable service during drought and emergencies.

Aesthetic improvements include a new rock wall with decorative wrought iron fencing, water-smart plants, and a newly paved access road shared with neighbors. The construction cost for this project is $4.6 million.

Not too far away in central El Paso, the Haskell R. Street Wastewater Plant dates back to 1923. The plant provides essential services to nearly 150,000 customers by treating 27.7 million gallons of wastewater per day.

Projects underway will improve efficiency, reliability and odor control. Odors have been a persistent problem in surrounding neighborhoods for decades, but work performed at the plant and with the incoming distribution systems has slashed detectable odor to the community by 75 percent.

Recent upgrades have overhauled the “degrit facilities”—one of the first stops in the treatment process, mitigated odors from incoming wastewater mains, and upgraded primary clarifiers and related enclosures. The upgrades will continue with planned improvements to pumps, mechanical screens and compactors as well as an aeration channel cover, which together should eliminate odors beyond the plant boundary.

Across town, the Thomas Manor Park Pond and Pump Station Project is a good example of blending infrastructure needs with quality of life improvements.

While EP Water works to improve flood control and increase public safety, the park will get a facelift thanks to the partnership between EP Water, the City’s Parks and Recreation Department and the Ysleta Independent School District.

Infrastructure updates include: a relocated pond that will increase stormwater capacity by more than 11 million gallons, a rehabilitated pump station, and replacement of aging water and wastewater pipes within the park.

The new park-pond design will not only capture stormwater runoff but also create recreational opportunities for nearby residents by providing fresh turf for green fields, updated walking trails, and a new play area.

El Pasoans Urged to Call 311 to Report Illegal Dumping

El Paso Water, the City of El Paso Environmental Services Department and the El Paso County Water Improvement District #1 (EPCWID #1) announced the kick-off of a public service campaign to bring attention to the City’s major illegal dumping problem and urge citizens to play a role in helping stop it.

More than 140,000 pounds of trash were illegally dumped in ditches, arroyos and across El Paso within the last year. Tires, mattresses, shopping carts and even toilets are among the most frequent items found and removed.

“Illegal dumping is a big problem in El Paso. Everybody needs to do their part to stop it,” said El Paso Water President and CEO John Balliew. “Our crews dedicate a significant amount of time and money to clearing out the trash. We could be using those funds to build more stormwater ponds that keep water off our streets.”

Photo courtesy EPW

Balliew also pointed out that even a small amount of trash can clog drains and canals, creating a serious flood safety risk in a matter of minutes. He said the problem becomes particularly dangerous during the monsoon season and urged residents to call 311 to report illegal dumping.

City of El Paso Environmental Services Department Deputy Director Kurt Fenstermacher warned illegal dumping carries big consequences: it’s a Class C misdemeanor and you can face up $4,000 in fines.

“We all have to do our part to keep our city safe, clean and beautiful…But that requires us taking action and saying something when we see (illegal dumping),” Fenstermacher said.

To raise awareness of the problem, the new public service campaign will utilize radio, video, digital and outdoor media to get the word out.  To demonstrate how big the problem is, EPWater puts the 140,000 pounds of trash in context by pointing out it is equal to the weight of a herd of elephants.

At the kick-off, an elephant sculpture made out of illegally dumped trash was on hand, designed by local artist Jason Brewer. The sound and visuals of elephants are threaded throughout the public service campaign.

El Paso residents are urged to dispose of any large trash or waste at the approved Citizen Collection Centers throughout the city. The centers are located at:

  • Northeast: 4501 Hondo Pass Drive
  • Central: 2492 Harrison Ave.
  • West Side: 121 Atlantic Road
  • East Side: 1034 Pendale Road
  • East Side: 3510 Confederate Drive

 

For more information on the campaign click here.

El Paso Water Rolls out New Technology to Help Maintain Water Infrastructure

Technology is making waves at El Paso Water, as the utility modernizes for the future by embracing robotic crawlers and emerging  and ‘trenchless technologies’ that are changing the way crews manage El Paso’s aging infrastructure.

EPWater officials say their push for modernization comes, in part, from “strategic directions prioritized in our 10-year Strategic Plan.”

“We are committed to improving El Paso’s water and stormwater infrastructure, and modernizing equipment and technologies that contribute to increased efficiencies and productivity.”

Stormwater operations employees rave about the new MiniDozer, which can carry a half-ton of debris and do the work of a six-person crew to clear waterways. The MiniDozer also makes it safer for Stormwater employees who work year-round to keep systems free of debris.

Now a crew of three workers, with one operating the MiniDozer via a remote control that resembles a video game control with joysticks, does the work of a crew of six workers with wheelbarrows and shovels.

Another innovative tool is the ‘G3 crawler,’ which uses electromagnetism to detect potential breaks in EPWater’s major water mains. The tethered robot crawls along the bottom of a water line, recording video for inspection of the pipe’s interior.

With the G3 Crawler, speed and cost savings are paramount.

“The cost-effective technology allows our crew members to get to the root of problems quickly and avoid service disruptions. The remote-controlled robot can pinpoint problem areas, helping crews to avoid costly replacement of entire pipes,” officials stated.

EPWater employees also consider trenchless technologies another low-impact and money-saving option to repair our stressed infrastructure. In recent projects, the utility has employed pipe bursting and Insituform.

• In pipe bursting, specialized equipment pulls a bullet-shaped metal cone through the old pipe, bursting it along the way. The new pipe is fed through the space, and the shards of the old pipe are safely left buried. The process only requires digging up a small area on either end of the pipe, substantially decreasing road closures. The process is twice as fast as the traditional cutting method and offers a 30 percent cost savings.

• Insituform uses cured-in-place pipe technology – a pipe within a pipe – with little to no digging. This more environmentally friendly technology has renewed pipelines beneath interstates and busy roadways without disrupting traffic. This technology was recently used to replace a collapsed stormwater pipe on Belvidere Street in west El Paso.

“EPWater’s technological toolbox will continue to grow as we explore innovative techniques to best serve customers, manage facilities and fund infrastructure improvements,” officials added.

El Paso Water’s ‘Certified Water Partner’ Program Rolls into 2018

In May of 2017, El Paso Water started a new program that allows local businesses to become a Certified Water Partner and showcase El Paso Water’s recognition of their water conservation efforts.

“It’s a constant reinforcement of water conservation,” said Norma Guzman, a certified water specialist for El Paso Water. “It shows a partnership, that we’re all in it together. It’s important to go beyond just conserving water at home.”

These businesses have met best practice criteria such as installing water efficient kitchen equipment, faucets, and toilets, while protecting wastewater systems with responsible fats and grease disposal.

Tabla is one of the newest businesses to be certified, and Sous Chef Jason Lucero is thrilled at the progress they’ve made in the kitchen.
“We’re always able to turn on a faucet without knowing exactly how much water we’re using, and being more conscious of it has helped how much we waste,” said Lucero.

EP Water officials add that for a business to become a Certified Water Partner, they must be local, have their own meter, utilize best practices for water efficiency and have a responsible fats and grease disposal system.

With 25 partners since the start of the program, Guzman said she’s happy with the positive impact the program is having on the community. In addition to recognizing restaurants that have good practices in conservation, El Paso Water also advises restaurants that don’t meet criteria how they can do even more to save water by helping them develop a plan of action to qualify for certification.

“We’ll come back at no charge and at their convenience. We clearly tell them where they missed the mark, what they need to do. We’re happy to go back to see progress and whether they have done what it takes to be certified, because we want them to save water,” said Guzman.

She stresses that all the information gathered during inspection for certification is kept confidential and at no time involves enforcement or penalties of any kind. Participation is strictly voluntary.

Photos of all Certified Water Partners are posted and tagged on El Paso Water Facebook and Twitter pages at least a few times a year. A short video also features some of the Partners. The publicity aims to publicly recognize these restaurants for their efforts, with hopes that other will follow.

More information on the program can be found online  by selecting the conservation tab, and then clicking on the Certified Water Partner logo.

El Paso Water Crews Begin Next Phase of Kentucky Dam Project

Starting Wednesday, El Paso Water will close Alabama Street, from Wheeling Avenue to Richmond Avenue, to all traffic for several weeks to complete the next phase of the Kentucky Dam stormwater improvement project.

During the closure, crews will replace the water mains in the closed off area and install new stormwater lines, improving services and flood safety for the area.

Drivers for both directions of traffic will be able to detour around the construction by driving over to Piedras Street and then back onto Alabama via Wheeling or Richmond.

The $3.9 million project will help reduce flooding in Central El Paso. The project will increase the capacity of nearby ponds and add piping that keeps water off the streets by directing stormwater into the dam.

Additionally, the project will improve service in the area by replacing water and wastewater lines.

 

EP Water: Sandbag Distribution Program will Move to Regular Schedule

El Paso Water announces that the last day to pick up sandbags at the satellite distribution sites will be Sunday, October 1 at 8pm. Seasonal satellite sites will reopen next summer.

The Stormwater Operations Center, located at 4801 Fred Wilson, is open throughout the year.

EP Water officials remind customers that they can get sandbags Monday through Friday between 8AM – 4PM beginning Monday, Oct. 2nd.

Sandbags are for flood control purposes only and limited to 10 sandbags per visit.

People who have difficulty lifting heavy items are encouraged to come with someone who can assist with loading and unloading.

Sandbag Distribution Sites
Through Oct. 1 Beginning Oct. 2
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)

Mon-Sun: 2PM-8PM 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

 

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.

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