Working Together to Protect the Environment

Working Together to Protect the Environment
Posted on 05/21/2019
EPWater recognized 21 businesses at its Industrial Pretreatment Excellence Awards ceremony.

Did you know that about half of the water produced for homes and businesses returns to the utility as wastewater? At El Paso Water, we filter, treat and disinfect wastewater so that it can be reclaimed for irrigation and other purposes or so it can be released to the Rio Grande.

Over the past three decades, El Paso Water has partnered with industrial businesses to reduce the amount of pollutants released into the wastewater system. Setting standards for what enters the system helps the utility control the treatment process and guarantees that water released to the Rio Grande will positively contribute to the natural ecosystem.

This year, EPWater recognized 21 businesses at its Industrial Pretreatment Excellence Awards ceremony who have gone above and beyond to make sure the discharge from their facilities meets state and federal standards.

“One of the most important tasks our industrial partners do day in and day out is to ensure we don’t have pollutants entering the wastewater collection system that cannot be easily removed,” said John Balliew, El Paso Water President and CEO, at the ceremony.

Utility Pretreatment Manger Nancy Nye said the utility partners with more than 50 companies who treat and release large volumes of discharge into the utility’s wastewater system.

At the ceremony, the Boeing Company was recognized for 15 years of industrial pretreatment excellence.

 Xavier Cardenas, Engineering Finance and Facilities Senior Manager, accepted the award for the Boeing Company in recognition of 15 years of pretreatment excellence.“Communication and collaboration are critical to reach the goal,” said Xavier Cardenas, Engineering Finance and Facilities Senior Manager of the Boeing Company. “Teamwork is not only within the four walls of the building but also with the members of the community, and in this case the City of El Paso and the water utility.”

Whether it’s managing contaminants or the acidity of waste, industries work closely with EPWater’s pretreatment team to ensure outgoing flows are controlled for contaminants and corrosiveness.

Even when good practices are in place, Nye said something can occasionally go wrong. That’s when partnerships are put to the test and communication is essential.

Nye described a recent experience with a spill at a bottling company, in which a large quantity of liquid reached the stormwater system. Nye recalls that the company “had the proper procedures and acted to inform the utility immediately.” The company and utility worked as a team to contain the spill and significantly reduce potential damage to the system and environment.

While managing the pretreatment program has long been a priority for the utility, future plans to transform treated wastewater into fresh drinking water for direct delivery to customers will require even greater vigilance and continuous monitoring.

“The partnership we have with local industries will become more important than ever,” said Balliew. Through our collaboration, we can help them understand the role they will play in producing a new water supply that is safe, reliable and drought-proof.”

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