Improving Efficiency at El Paso Water Canal Plant

Angel Bustamante, University of Texas at El Paso


This project focused on the savings associated with filter backwash and rewash water at the Canal plant. Canal plant is a conventional surface water plant owned and operated by El Paso Water. Approximately 330,000 gallons of backwash water and 84,500 gallons of rewash water are lost daily during normal operational conditions. The combined 414,500 gallons of water are equivalent to 1.27 acre feet per day. During a full eight-month surface water season, this is 305 acre feet. With the goal of optimizing the plant, residuals waste streams can be recycled to the head of the treatment plant. However, there is concern that pathogens such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium cysts may be present in these waste streams. This project collected rewash water to analyze for the presence of Giardia and Cryptosporidium during a three month operating period. In addition, filter operating data was collected and analyzed to determine the total number of backwashes, what criteria triggers a backwash, and the total volume of backwash and rewash water. Rewash samples were collected during this project and none were detected for the presence of Giardia or Cryptosporidium. When the backwash and rewash data were analyzed, it was determined that 194,700 gallons of water per day which is equivalent to 143 acre feet per year based on a full eight month operating season could be saved by increasing the filter run time from 100 to 190 hours.

Subject Area

Environmental engineering|Water Resources Management

Recommended Citation

Bustamante, Angel, "Improving Efficiency at El Paso Water Canal Plant" (2022). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI28962279.