“The smell is horrible,” Upper Valley residents react to weeks of sewage smell from wastewater pipe breaks


Wastewater discharge to flow into the Rio Grande for months

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The smell of sewage continues to pester Upper Valley residents as El Paso Water says crews are working to repair damaged pipelines.

The smell comes from pipes carrying wastewater from toilets and showers into treatment plants, generally from the property all over West El Paso. Crews are expected to make repairs to damaged pipes until November, according to a spokeswoman with El Paso Water.

“Now, that those are broken, our crews are fixing and working diligently and extra long hours to get those fixed,” Denise Parra, an El Paso Water spokeswoman said. And, we do want people to know that since this is happening, there is a discharge of wastewater into the Rio Grande and that will continue into the next few months while our crews make those repairs to the breaks.”

El Paso Water officials say the reason is due to a wastewater main break that happened in August during the heavy rainstorms. The utility says the pipes that ruptured are a major part of the Frontera Force Main Pipelines, which are located near Sunland Park and Doniphan Drive.

The pipes carry the water to about 110,000 West El Paso residents, which is about 10-million gallons a day. All that wastewater is now being diverted into the Rio Grande as crews work on repairs.

El Paso Water officials say the pipe breaks initially spewed back up into Upper Valley neighborhoods and homes.

Aaron Centeno, a store manager of a nearby car wash, Daddy-O’s, said the smell is affecting his business and the overall happiness of employees and customers.

“We’ve been experiencing this horrendous smell since the beginning of whatever it is they have been doing out there,” Centeno said.”My employees are having a difficult time working around here it’s hard for them to be outside and be around the flying insects and the smell, me personally, I think its bad for our systems to be inhaling that.”

A spokesman for the International Boundary and Water Commission says their role will be to notify Mexico of the river’s conditions while El Paso Water makes repairs.

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