EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – After nearly five months, a foul odor permeating West El Paso has been resolved after an El Paso Water wastewater facility is once again fully operational.

The John T. Hickerson Water Reclamation Facility is now operating at full capacity and treating wastewater flows from the Frontera and Sunland Park Lift Stations.

The cleaned water is being discharged in the Rio Grande as it did prior to the wastewater line breaks that occurred last August.

As KTSM previously reported, millions of gallons of wastewater were being dumped into the Rio Grande as a result of broken pipelines. As a result, a foul odor from the wastewater frustrated dozens of businesses and residents in the area. Beginning Tuesday, that wastewater is now pumping into the plant.

Gilbert Trejo, the Chief Operations Officer for El Paso Water, said the smell should no longer be an issue.

“At this point, the odor treatment system which takes the odors’ air and cleans it so it doesn’t smell, those are both operating at the water treatment plant and at the pumping stations themselves,” Trejo said.

However, there is still a long road ahead for El Paso Water.

“Our attention remains on operation and commission of the plant but we are planning the cleanup of the river cleanup of the ponds or anything that came into contact with the wastewater, those plans are now being developed, we’ll start executing those later this month and in the coming weeks…”

Gilbert Trejo, the Chief Operations Officer for El Paso Water

He said El Paso Water is now shifting to phase two of their operations in repairing the broken pipelines. Construction will be done near a mile-long stretch off Doniphan Dr. near Sunland Park and Racetrack.

“Luckily this is a less populated and traveled part of Doniphan where this pipeline is going to be installed,” Trejo said.

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