Aquifer Storage & Recovery

El Paso developed the first Aquifer Storage & Recover (ASR) facility in Texas in 1985. For decades, El Paso has been treating wastewater to drinking water standards and using it to recharge the Hueco Bolson aquifer.

Accomplishments:

  • The Fred Hervey Reclamation Plant injects up to 3 million gallons per day
  • Successfully recharged over 30 billion of gallons of reclaimed water
  • Slowed the decline of aquifer water levels
  • Proven effective in long-term management

Historically, the utility primarily used deep injection wells to put water directly into the Hueco Bolson aquifer. EPWater conducted research with the American Waterworks Research Foundation and concluded that excavated infiltration ponds were a more economical method for recharging the Hueco in terms of both construction and recurring operations and maintenance costs. Since that time, EPWater has constructed four infiltration ponds and reduced its dependency on injection wells.

Aquifer Recharge Infiltration Ponds

Future of ASR

EPWater has been long considered the feasibility of expanding current ASR operations. The utility completed a feasibility study, which was approved by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in 2019 to expand use of ASR, using a combination of reclaimed water treated river water, and stormwater.

During irrigation season, El Paso Water holds water rights that help meet peak summer water use. When the utility does not need its full allotment of river water, there is an opportunity to use a portion of that water to replenish the aquifer to support long-range drought resilience and groundwater sustainability.

The project will move into the design phase and is expected to be constructed in two phases.

  • Phase One – Pump station enhancements and a pipeline to move treated river water to existing infiltration basins
  • Phase Two – The development of an enhanced arroyo infiltration facility that could accommodate river water, reclaimed water and stormwater and provide a wetland habitat to benefit several listed and endangered species

 

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