El Paso Water recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of their International Water Quality Laboratory.
The 27,000-square-foot facility was built in 2006 to consolidate four specialized labs at EPW facilities around the city. Officials said the older facilities had outdated ventilation systems and lack of work and storage space, and they were hard-pressed to meet changing demands of highly sensitive and complex testing requirements.
“We place the highest priority on water quality here in El Paso, and this celebration served as a good opportunity to reflect on the importance we place in both facilities and in our people to guarantee we have a healthy and safe water supply,” John Balliew, P.E., President and CEO stated, “The state-of-the-art facility is accredited by the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality under national standards. ”
Balliew added, “We often talk about our leadership in water supply innovations, but just as essential – if not more so – is the work we do to guarantee the safety of our water supply. With the new facility, we’ve had the honor of hosting utilities from around the state and country to see how our lab is set up and how it operates.”
The Lab established a national model for water quality laboratories with its centralized location, reduced time needed to complete testing, and improved quality control. It also had the benefit of saving time and money and providing a safer, secure work environment for employees.
New high-tech features included an ultra-clean air system, a state-of-the-art water purification system and a dedicated data management system.
During the anniversary ceremony, Ballew joined other El Paso Water leaders in thanking Lab employees for their tireless efforts to safeguard the area’s drinking water supply.
Lab Manager Richard Wilcox said he and his employees take their role in providing safe drinking water to the community very seriously, and he credits the employees for the Lab’s success.
“We know we have an impact on everybody. It’s a good feeling to know we serve the community in such an important way,” Wilcox said.
Each year lab employees, who often have degrees in biology or chemistry, review more than 45,000 samples and perform more than 250,000 chemical and biological analyses as part of El Paso Water’s monitoring and testing program.