EPWU: We're working to fix drainage problems in flooded West El Paso neighborhoods

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 - 9:54pm

Several neighborhoods in West El Paso and the Upper Valley saw more than three inches of rain in less than an hour on Tuesday -- the heavy rains caused massive flooding in those neighborhoods.

El Paso Water Utilities came out to the neighborhoods Tuesday night to begin cleaning.

Families and business owners, as well as EP Water Utilities, spent the entire day on Wednesday cleaning up the mess left behind by the rainstorm. Residents and business owners off Doniphan used shovels, buckets, and mops to get rid of the flooding.

One resident told NewsChannel 9 that him and his girlfriend took a shovel to a nearby drain to help it collect more water.

"There was no drainage at all. The water was at a stand still, building up, basically on the fronts of coming into our house. In the past, no one's bothered to come down and take a look over here to maybe see if anything could be done to help the water relieve itself," said Jorge Hernandez.

On Tuesday night, residents and business owners said they expect this type of flooding and damage every time it rains because they believe the city doesn't turn on the water pumps to drain the flooding.

"We have this problem every year because the city never wants to open the pumps. This is an every year thing with them. And every time we call them right away for a response, they never respond," said Gina Slaughter.

"Every time it rains a little bit, even a little bit, they don't turn on those pumps and these are the results. This is our tax dollars at work," said Mike Zubia.

EP Water Utilities said that the problem in that neighborhood is not with the pumps -- they say the pumps were actually turned on Tuesday when the rainstorm happened.

According to EPWU, there is a drainage problem in the community. The drainage pipe there isn't connected to the main pipe at Doniphan, which is how they get rid of stormwater, they said.

Ultimately, the rain water doesn't have a place to go and floods the streets.

But EPWU said they are working to fix the problem.

"There is a solution in the works. We understand and we understand the frustrations of the people that live there and that's why we have identified this area, that's why we've started design on a project, and that's why it's going to construction next week," said Christina Montoya, spokesperson for EPWU.

She said the water table in that West El Paso neighborhood is very low and so when it rains, the rainwater doesn't drain but instead comes back up and makes its way into homes, businesses, and streets.

According to EPWU, it will take about 5 to 6 months to complete the construction project.

In the meantime, they said that neighborhood will be a priority for crews -- should the rain return.

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