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.
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.