Update: Business Back Open After Flooding


POSTED: Monday, July 26, 2010 - 8:48pm

UPDATED: Monday, July 26, 2010 - 9:50pm

It may be dry now, but just this morning, Gary Wirz couldn't walk here - just wade.

"About six truckloads of water." That's how much El Paso Water Utilities vacuumed out in this area. Wirz owns GCC Transload but was forced to close up shop for the weekend because the flooding was so bad.

"At that point it looked like it would probably shut us down for about a wee," he said.

He unloads railcars full of grain and then delivers the grain to dairy farms in New Mexico.

But this weekend he said the water was at waist level and without dry grain, he didn't see much green.

"Somehow someway there needs to be a better way of getting rid of the water," Wirz said.

El Paso Water Utilities is trying to help by giving out sandbags to those who need them.

"You know your property best, you know what happens at your property," said Christina Montoya, spokesperson for El Paso Water Utilities. "And if you have that information there is a tool that we're trying to help you protect your property."

Christina Montoya is the spokeswoman for El Paso Water Utilities. She says - don't wait until the last minute to pick up the sandbags. They only have six vactor machines like the one that helped Gary out, and there is a priority list.

"There is a priority list..we are going to respond to the places where there is a bigger safety hazard," Montoya said.

"This is the first time I've asked them specifically to do that," Wirz said. "I guess I should've called them sooner."

But Wirz said this is only a quick fix.

"We cant take water in with the grain, our customers wouldn't like that," he said.

He wants to see a permanent solution to the stagnant water, especially with a forecast that's not going to be raining money.

EPWU is in the middle of some big projects in other areas to ease the flooding. One in central El Paso includes installing grates in the streets to channel the water underground. No word yet on any projects in the upper valley.

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