El Paso Inc.: PSB awards contract in plan to recycle water

The El Paso Public Service Board didn't blow any horns last week as it took the first step toward recycling water that goes down sinks and toilets in order to give the city a permanent drought-proof source of water.

Water experts see such recycling as the logical, necessary and inevitable next step to ensure that American cities will have the water they need, without having to rely entirely on ground water, rivers and lakes.

The PSB, which oversees El Paso Water Utilities, approved a $542,000 contract Wednesday with ARCADIS, an international engineering, design and consulting firm based in Holland with offices around the world.

The contract commissions ARCADIS to develop a preliminary design for an advanced purified water treatment plant that the utility wants to build next to the Bustamante Wastewater Treatment Plant on the Rio Grande near Socorro.

PSB's president and CEO, John Balliew, said the utility is taking a low-key approach to see how the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality reacts to the city's plans and to give the utility time to determine how best to introduce El Pasoans to a topic that will make some people queasy.

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