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New pump station to be completed by monsoon in July

Freeway flooding may soon be only a memory in El Paso.

A new pump station is expected to fix the recurring problem. El Paso Water Utilities told ABC-7 the $11 million Magnolia Pump Station, located off I-10 near Piedras, should be finished by arrival of this year’s monsoon in July.

The project is billed as the most important Stormwater project under construction.

Since Storm 2006, preventing flooding on I-10 has been one of the biggest challenges for the Stormwater utility. The new Magnolia Pump Station will pump water from I-10 to the Rio Grande.

According to a YouTube video about the project by Bath Engineering, I-10 is built on an elevated platform, so water that falls on the mountain runs downhill toward the freeway but cannot cross the elevated road bed to get to the river.

The Magnolia Pump Station basin is expected to fill with stormwater from the freeway. The pump station will transfer the water to a new force main and the force main will carry the water under pressure to the river.

“It’s got a gigantic economic impact, it’s huge,” El Paso Water Utilities Vice President of Operations Alan Shubert told ABC-7. “Our plan was to be done for monsoon of 2016 and we will. Magnolia will move around 140 cubic feet per second, which amounts to millions of gallons per day. This is probably the biggest victory that the stormwater utility has.”

ABC-7 asked Shubert what he means by “victory.”

“I mean that it won’t flood routinely,” Shubert added. “Right now, before we started this project, the gateways and the freeway flooded with a two-year frequency storm. It was very routine. If and when it floods in the future, it should be far between events for that to happen and hopefully I won’t see it again.”

Shubert told ABC-7 there’s always chance of a 100-year flood, so he can’t promise the freeway will never ever flood again. But he’s confident this pump station will definitely keep it from happening as often.

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