EPWU continues cleanup work at storm-water infrastructures


POSTED: Monday, December 23, 2013 - 6:31pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, December 24, 2013 - 9:47am

It's been about three months since major floods slammed the borderland, but even today the cleanup continues.

Back in September El Paso, Socorro and other areas saw flooding for the first time in years. Several homes are still buried by mud and some experts also say there are still many weaknesses in the system that need to be addressed.

"We wanted to be proactive about it so we created a year round maintenance program for all of our dams, channels, storm water inlets in the middle of the street," El Paso Water Utilities Vice President Christina Montoya said.

Montoya says while you can't stop it from raining, you can make sure storm water drains properly by making sure nothing is clogging the system.

"In order for it to work it needs to the slopes need to be free of vegetation there, needs to review the leaks and also on the inside area there needs to be enough capacity to hold that," Montoya said.

The storms this year were the largest the borderland has seen in seven years. Even though they're rare environmental expert Mariana Chew Ph.D. says it will happen again and more work needs to be done to make sure we're prepared.

"All the events that happened during the year show that we are not fully prepared, we need infrastructure but not only that we need community involvement, let the federal, state and local entities know what our needs are, sometimes the community is more aware of what the needs are," Dr. Chew said.

Dr. Chew said aside from the infrastructure problems people can also affect the system by throwing trash out, and dealing with flooding may not be the only consequence.

"People dispose of the trash in the river for instance the trash acts like a barrier then all the contaminants, decomposition of the trash then it pollutes the water the air and soil," Chew concluded.

El Paso Water Utilities officials said work will continue throughout next year to review and fix some of the system failures during September’s storm.
If you wish to report any problems or issues at any storm water infrastructures call: (915) 594-5500

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