UPDATE: El Paso Water confirmed Friday on crews finding large amounts of concrete “lodged into our wastewater line along with rags and other non-flushables.” El Paso Water says the pipe was cut open to remove the blockage which will be “cleared and repaired.”
EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — About 24,000 gallons of raw sewage overflowed from a West El Paso manhole, according to El Paso Water.
The overflow happened in an area south of the Sunland Park Mall in West El Paso. El Paso Water, the water utility, says it’s located in a non-residential area and is being diverted into a dam away from the public.
“There’s no impact to our customers, there’s no impact to our potable water source but we are asking people to refrain from this area just because there is active wastewater,” said Felipe Lopez, the Utility Chief Operation Officer in charge of the distribution and collections systems for El Paso Water.
An EP Water employee noticed a sewer manhole that was overflowing on Tuesday. Officials said over 2,000 gallons of the overflowed sewage flowed to the Rio Grande before it was diverted.
“Right now, we are currently using groundwater to meet our demands, the river is completely dry so there is no impact on our ability to meet our demand with groundwater,” said Lopez.
Lopez explained that this was not a water main break but a blockage in a manhole.
“A blockage of (wipes) and rags which we have yet to determine where it is located and able to remove it,” said Lopez.
A spokesperson for El Paso Water sent a map of the area explaining that the initial overflow happened at manhole number one, and in order to stop the wastewater from flowing downstream the crews plugged manhole number two so that the overflow was diverted to the dam and away from the public which can be seen on the map.
El Paso Water says they have notified the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality about the overflow and plans to work through the weekend hoping to fix the issue by Monday.