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New Sewer Pipe Expected to Serve 50,000 Southside SAWS Customers

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
To install the pipe, crews need to dig 32 feet into the ground

San Antonio is undergoing a sewer make-over as it complies with a decree from the Environmental Protection Agency over sewer leaks.  

New 48-inch fiberglass sewer pipes are being installed at South Presa and Mission Way.  When complete, it will stretch 5.5  miles.  SAWS CEO Robert Puente says the recent rate increase for customers includes this project. “The rate increases are not just for water supply, also for upgrades of our sewer system," he said. "In particular, our consent decree, this is upgrading the system to make sure we don’t have any sewer overflows.”

In 2015, SAWS had 14 sewer spills, 2014 only saw eight. There have been five so far in 2016.  That consent decree with the EPA from 2013 is a 10 year $1 billion dollar agreement to replace aging sewer lines. “We are the only city in Texas that has already reached the agreement with EPA. Houston and Corpus are negotiating their consent decrees,” Puente said

Mayor Ivy Taylor toured the construction site first hand Monday. “We’ve seen lack of investment in the Southside," she said "So it’s great to have this level of investment in infrastructure to ensure that the folks

Credit Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio
San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor stands next to one of the new sewer pipes

   that live over here have the same quality of services like anybody in any other part of the city.”

The new pipe will serve 50,000 Southside homes and businesses. The current one, made of concrete, will be filled and abandoned. This project is expected to be completed next March.