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Frontera pipeline work nears finish, but sewage will still spill into Rio Grande for a bit after fix

EL PASO, Texas -- Repairs to pipelines damaged after an August rainstorm are expected to be completed later this month, El Paso Water utility officials said Wednesday.

The pipelines, known as the Frontera Force Mains, are located near Sunland Park Drive and Doniphan. The ruptures caused millions of gallons of wastewater to be diverted into the Rio Grande.

EP Water said it is already working on the commissioning and testing of the new wastewater line. The commissioning includes a start-up phase that will last for a few weeks. Chief Technical Officer Gilbert Trejo said the testing will run into early January. Once the testing is completed, Trejo said the wastewater discharge into the river will stop.

Utility officials said contractors have been working 14-hour weekdays and 10-hour weekend days to complete the installation.

Work also continues on assessing the environmental impact. According to EP Water, public drinking water was not impacted. The environmental consulting firm Arcadis is developing a plan for remediation. The firm has been evaluating water and sediment quality sample data, and analyzing vegetation and wildlife along the Rio Grande riverbed and riverbanks.

David Gonzalez

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