Leaders Celebrate 30 Years of Aquifer Replenishment

American Water Works Association visits El Paso Water Utilities to help mark the 30th anniversary of the Fred Hervey Water Reclamation Plant
Leaders Celebrate 30 Years of Aquifer Replenishment
EPWU President and CEO John Balliew welcomes AWWA Leadership from Denver to help celebrate 30 years of water reuse.

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American Water Works Association (AWWA) leaders made a special visit to El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 14 and joined utility and plant leaders to help mark the 30-year anniversary of the Fred Hervey Water Reclamation Plant and its record as a pioneer in aquifer replenishment.

They toured the plant that has been cleaning used water and recharging the Hueco Bolson aquifer beneath El Paso since 1985. The plant was named for former El Paso Mayor Fred Hervey, who was largely responsible for the creation of the Public Service Board.

“Across the country and especially in California, aquifer replenishment is being hailed as a new water solution to meet supply needs, but here in El Paso, we are celebrating 30 years of success with this technology,” says El Paso Water Utilities President and CEO John Balliew. “Today, I’m pleased to give special recognition to the team that developed and constructed the Fred Hervey Plant and our team that has successfully operated the facility over the years. Your hard work and innovation paved the way for others and helped ensure the longevity of our valuable aquifer.”

Fred Hervey Plant Manager Vick Pedregon pointed out that the facility is nearing 30 billion gallons returned to the aquifer. An additional 27 billion gallons of water has been sold directly to reclaimed customers, representing that amount of aquifer water saved. “Based on our science, we have determined it takes about two to five years from when we inject water into the aquifer to when it will be returned to El Paso customers as drinking water,” Pedregon says.  

After a ceremony celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Fred Hervey Plant, AWWA leaders toured the Hervey Plant and the Advanced Water Purification Pilot Facility, El Paso’s latest groundbreaking water reuse project that will transform used water into drinking water and send it directly to customers.

“As drought conditions continue across the West and groundwater depletion becomes a growing concern, many communities that rely on one source of water have a new sense of urgency to find additional water sources,” says David LaFrance, AWWA’s Chief Executive Officer. “We hope other utilities can learn from El Paso’s innovative technology solutions that we saw today.”

AWWA gets a firsthand look at El Paso Water Utility's Advanced Water Purification Pilot Facility.

About EPWU
El Paso Water Utilities operates and maintains four utilities — water, wastewater, reclaimed water and stormwater — for the El Paso region. The Public Service Board (PSB), created in 1952 by City Ordinance, oversees the administrative decisions and actions by EPWU. With an innovative and diverse water portfolio and the world’s largest inland desalination plant, EPWU implements the latest technology to provide 97 percent of El Paso County with high-quality, sustainable water supplies at a reasonable cost.


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