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Borderland Still Dealing With February Freeze Issues A Year Later

One year ago Wednesday, a winter blast of epic proportions was descending on the Borderland.

By the time it was over, buildings, homes and landscaping in the area had suffered millions of dollars in damage.

Even a year later, you can still see some of that damage around town. ABC-7 spoke with a couple of local tree removal companies that said they’ve cut down thousands of trees over the past year, which was their busiest year ever.

Low temperatures dipped into single digits for three consecutive days, leaving El Paso in a deep freeze. Just when it appeared things couldn’t get any worse, they did. El Paso Electric’s generators froze, leaving many in the Borderland without power at a critical time.

Rolling blackouts were in effect for days as schools were closed and a voluntary curfew was issued. Low gas pressure, or no gas pressure in some cases, left many homes without any heat. Then pipes started to freeze and burst by the thousands, causing El Paso Water Utilities to put water restrictions in place.

ABC-7 spoke with a local plumber Wednesday who said he’s still finding homes with pipes damaged by the freeze.

“They have pipes that have swollen up and they’re about to burst,” A&P Plumbing Unlimited owner Art Ugarte said. “They’re leaving them alone since they did, but they have the potential to burst and they’re almost at a point of bursting like a balloon. Since they’re metal they don’t give out.”

But Ugarte told ABC-7 they probably will give out eventually, so it’s better to go ahead and replace those swollen pipes as soon as possible before they burst and cause any flooding.

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