County residents not keen on Fort Bliss waste treatment plans

Treatment plant would be built near proposed El Paso Electric plant

Matthew Smith, Good Morning El Paso Weekend Anchor / Reporter
POSTED: 08:05 PM MDT Jun 07, 2013    UPDATED: 08:53 PM MST Jan 15, 2014 
EL PASO, Texas -

Neighbors in far east El Paso County are seeing déjà vu.

Earlier this year, they fought against El Paso Electric bringing a power plant to their neighborhood.

The fight is ongoing, but the general consensus is that the TCEQ will soon issue a permit to begin building.

Now, residents are dealing with the possibility of waste-treatment plant being built across the street.

"It's like you're being kicked while you're down," said Ralph Carrasco, a resident and community activist. "Who wants to live next to a waste-treatment center where they are going to recycle people's trash?"

Fort Bliss officials aren't saying much. When asked, a public information specialist responded, "Fort Bliss officials will have a comment following the meetings next week."

For Carrasco, the concern is the safety of his two children. He questioned what the byproduct would be from burning trash from Fort Bliss and the city of El Paso.

"This is about the invisible factors," said Carrasco, pointing to similar issues he raised about the El Paso Electric plant.

According to documents on Fort Bliss' website, the plan to build a waste-treatment site would have after-effects.

The plant would burn trash from Fort Bliss and the city. Estimates in their initial study show that up to 100 trucks would carry 1,100 tons of trash to the facility every day. It also states that an additional 30 truckloads would be necessary to haul ash away from the site.

On the flip side, it would take waste and turn it into energy.  Early estimates show the plant would put out 45 megawatts of power.  This is part of the post's implementation of the government's new Net Zero strategy. The goal is to cut back water use, electrical use and waste produced.

Carrasco told ABC-7 he thinks it's a noble effort, but as has become custom with those who try to build next to residential areas in the county, residents are asking for it to be somewhere away from their back yards.

Meetings are scheduled on Monday at Chapin High School, Tuesday at Mountain View High School and on Thursday at Otero County Administration building. All the meetings will begin at 6:30 p.m.