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El Paso Water Utilities working on I-10, central El Paso flooding issues

Updated: Monday, September 30 2013, 03:47 PM MDT
El Paso Water Utilities working on I-10, central El Paso flooding issues story image

By: Bill Melugin
EL PASO, Texas - El Paso Water Utilities President John Balliew feels the company stormwater projects passed their first big test after storms hit the Borderland and caused severe flooding, but he told KFOX14 there is room for improvement in central El Paso.

"We're still concerned about the freeway, but here's the problem with that: The reason that the water ends up there is because its a low spot and it all concentrates there from the central core of the city," Balliew said. "We have a number of projects that we have to do to remedy that, but the problem is that area is all developed, completely developed, so anything we do involves buying real estate from people who don't necessarily want to sell it, and then construct our facilities in the middle of developed areas."

EPWU feels their projects in the west side, east side, and northeast all fared well, and are taking aim at fixing the issues in central El Paso.

The utility said system improvements have significantly reduced flooding in central El Paso, but there is additional work that needs to be done to help with flooding, especially in the area of Copia and I-10.

EPWU said they have completed three phases of a multiyear, multimillion-dollar project. The next phases will provide more ponds to capture runoff from the mountains and will also provide pipelines and pumps to move water to the river.

Stormwater Master Plan Projects

"People see the freeway flooding, it's a very visible reminder of what happened back in 2006, of course this time we got the water off the freeway much faster than it was done previously," Balliew said. "In the central core of the city, there is a lot of work that remains to be done, but it's difficult, it's disruptive construction, right in the middle of developed areas. A lot of residential customers would be affected by this."

El Paso Water Utilities working on I-10, central El Paso flooding issues
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