Stinky sewage smell update given by EP Water, repairs to infrastructure

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) –  Businesses in West El Paso say they are hesitant to speak up about the pungent sewage smell that’s become a staple in the area, for fear of losing customers. However, they do want to know what El Paso Water is doing to fix the problem that’s been lingering for months.

According to the utility, they expect the repairs on the wastewater pipeline to be completed by December, eliminating the strong sewage smell that has been lingering in West El Paso.

The smell is caused by a waste-water main break near Sunland Park and Doniphan Drive that happened in August during the heavy rainstorms.

Gilbert Trejo, Chief Technical Officer for El Paso Water, says the pipeline will be fully repaired next month,

“Right now we are sticking to December. We are on schedule to finish in December, have the pipeline in operation and stop the discharge into the river. “

Trejo says that upwards of 25 construction workers are installing the 36 inch pipeline that will connect to the Frontera lift station,

“This represents four crews, where typically it’s one crew installing a pipeline. At this time it’s full steam ahead to install this pipeline as fast as possible.”

Once completed the pipeline will carry the sewage water to the treatment plant.

Crews did, however, run into a snag with the supply chain issue that’s impacting the entire country. Because of the snag, they were unable to get the material they needed to get the job done, so they created a work around.

“We talked to the contractor. They used their relationship with Thompson Pipe to bring the manufacturing process to El Paso. They sent over their crews and their quality control managers to ensure that the pipe pieces that we needed, to make a certain bend in the pipe, a certain angle and even the final connection pieces that we need, that they get done here in El Paso, expediting the process. Not having to rely on the supply chain or delivery or anything like that has allowed us to stay on schedule.”

Gilbert Trejo, Chief Technical Officer for El Paso Water

Trejo said that the process usually takes place in a manufacturing site, on an assembly line, but they were able to bring in that mobile field of professionals to make what they need,

“There’s bends or angles in the pipe that we need to make. With out those specific fittings or that piece of pipe that is angled that certain way, they have to create that fitting and make it here in El Paso”

Trejo says that even though it seems as though the smell has been lingering for a while – El Paso Water is actually completing the job faster than expected.

“This project was originally scheduled to be finished in the spring, March and April. But now we’re having them finish in December.”

However, for at least the next month, the sewage smell will linger as 10 million gallons of wastewater are dumped into the Rio Grande every day.

“Unfortunately its got to go somewhere. The lift station….that’s the pumping station that would usually collect it and pump it to the wastewater treatment plant. But in this case, from there its being discharged into a pipeline that leads into the river.”

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