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Sewage still flowing in Upper Valley a week after main breaks

UPDATE, Aug. 20: Sewage water continued flowing into the streets of El Paso's Upper Valley, one week after two parallel wastewater mains broke.

The broken lines resulted in the release of hundreds of thousands of gallons of sewage wastewater onto streets and into homes and businesses.

Those ruptured mains were part of an ongoing construction project to replace old infrastructure. But even days after the breaks, the problem of leaking wastewater is still ongoing in the area.

In a statement, El Paso Water said crews continue working to return the broken wastewater lines into service, but as of Friday there was no time frame for completion.

EP Water said any affected customers were encouraged to call the utility at 915-594-5500.

UPDATE, Aug. 15: El Paso Water officials said west El Paso residents could return to normal water usage Sunday evening after the utility was able "to expedite repairs to broken wastewater mains."

The conservation efforts by residents resulted in reduced water flows enabling "crews to work more efficiently to repair the pipelines that convey wastewater from homes and businesses to the treatment plant,” said EP Water CEO John Balliew in a statement Sunday evening.

The utility had requested customers reduce reduce indoor water use on Saturday after two broken wastewater lines on Sunland Park Drive and Doniphan Circle caused a wastewater backup and overflows into homes in an Upper Valley neighborhood. Balliew said the utility was working with more than a dozen homeowners who filed damage claims stemming from the incident.

EP Water indicated that westbound Sunland Park Drive from Interstate 10 to Doniphan Park Circle would continue to experience lane reductions for motorists while crews work to make permanent repairs to the busted mains.

ORIGINAL REPORT, Aug. 14: EL PASO, Texas -- Wastewater was seeping into some west El Paso homes on Saturday as a result of water main breaks, prompting El Paso Water officials to tell some customers to refrain from water use.

"EP Water is experiencing a wastewater pipeline emergency on the westside of El Paso with the main wastewater artery that conveys all residential and commercial wastewater to the Hickerson Water Reclamation Facility disrupted by pipeline breaks," the utility said in a statement.

The situation was triggered by two breaks, one happening in the 3900 block of Doniphan Park Circle and the other near the corner of Sunland Park and Doniphan Park.

The utility said those breaks resulted "in a discharge of hundreds of thousands of gallons of domestic wastewater... causing some wastewater to emerge on neighborhood streets and even intrude on private property."

El Paso Water advised those living on the west side anywhere north of Sunland Park Drive to reduce their water usage for the next 24 to 48 hours.

“We simply have too much wastewater coming through the system and need the cooperation of west side water users to reduce usage,” Gilbert Trejo, the utility's chief technical officer, explained.

He asked residents to "delay use of dishwashers, washing machines, delay or cut short shower times, and only flush when you have to," adding that they "may continue to drink the tap water or use water for health or medical needs. The tap water quality is not affected and remains safe and of high quality."

Crews were working to fix the broken mains, but it was unclear how long it would take to make those repairs.

The utility said residents who had sewage coming into their homes through bath tubs or elsewhere should contact EP Water at 915-594-5500. Officials aso cautioned that people should avoid coming into contact with wastewater due to health issues.

Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.

Rosemary Montanez



  1. “Water main break?” No you imbeciles, it’s a WASTEWATER main break! Who writes these headlines? My 5th grader great-grandson can write better than this. You keep saying water mains, when in fact it was sewer mains. Jim, where did you get your education?

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