UTEP Students Complete Senior Projects in Collaboration with El Paso Water Utilities

utepwuWhat: Presentation of UTEP civil engineering student senior projects, done in collaboration with El Paso Water Utilities

When: 10:30 a.m. Friday, May 13, 2016

Where: Chemistry and Computer Science Building, room G.0208, UTEP campus

Students in The University of Texas at El Paso’s College of Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering, collaborated with El Paso Water Utilities (EPWU) during the spring semester to create senior projects that they will present on Friday, May 13.

EPWU challenged students to provide ideas for a Water Supply and Resource Recovery Campus, or Water Campus, in a 500-acre area surrounding the Rio Bosque Wetlands Park, the Jonathan Rogers Water Treatment Plant, the Roberto Bustamante Wastewater Treatment Plant, and the proposed Advanced Water Purification Facility. The campus could include a Learning Center, water retention ponds, and improvements throughout the 500-acre property. EPWU envisions the Water Campus as a place where people can gain an understanding and appreciation of the innovative water management approaches that shape El Paso’s sustainable water supply strategy as well as provide recreational opportunities.

“This project will be mutually beneficial with relationships and outcomes that potentially impact our workforce pipeline and the direction of our Water Campus,” said John Balliew, president and CEO of EPWU. “The students learn valuable engineering insights in the areas of water quality and water reuse and about related water careers.  At the same time, the utility will receive innovative ideas and solutions that could well be applied to our future Water Campus.”

The design of the Water Campus is part of the two-semester Civil Engineering Senior Design Project in a competition format. During the first semester, which was just completed, student teams received help from architect mentors to complete a master plan of the campus and preliminary design of the educational facilities.

“I really appreciate this opportunity that EPWU has presented us with,” said Gabriela Porras, a senior majoring in civil engineering. “Designing this campus has been a great practice in dealing with real-life projects, and a great exercise in collaboration. It is really motivating to know that some of my team’s ideas have the chance to become a reality that will benefit El Paso.”

In the upcoming second semester, EPWU will select the features from the student teams that best represent their vision for the Water Campus and develop a scope. The student teams then will complete the engineering design in the areas of structural, geotechnical, transportation, environmental and construction management engineering.

“This is a great opportunity for students to work on real-life projects, especially those that help improve the quality of life for our community, which makes it even more valuable,” said Ivonne Santiago, Ph.D., clinical professor of civil engineering. “Additionally, we want to showcase the leadership of El Paso Water Utilities in addressing water needs in the Chihuahuan Desert that ensure our city is resilient and has a drought-proof water supply.”