By Cassie McClure
Published in Las Cruces Sun-News 12/13/2020.
As the end of the calendar year approaches, it’s time to take stock of progress. Even with COVID-19, Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) moved the City of Las Cruces infrastructure forward. Projects and accomplishments are detailed in its recently published annual report that is available to the public online.
While COVID-19 altered plenty of things, service never stopped at LCU, even with an uptick in waste disposal.
“While a lot of people were ‘staying at home’ per the Governor’s Public Health Order; they decided to clean up and clean out their houses and yards,” Robin Lawrence, LCU deputy director Solid Waste, said. “Solid Waste Collections was out there picking it all up and office staff was answering all the customer’s questions. Everything from Grappler pickups, regular trash pickups, and customer service – workload increased across the board, at times triple the norm, and was handled with the same amount, or even less staff.”
Some other notable highlights:
- There have been 13,503 feet of natural gas main line extension and installation of 638 natural gas line services. The largest effort was the Talavera 8-Inch High-Pressure Gas Pipeline Extension project, which was substantially completed July 3, 2020, to provide natural gas to the Talavera area. Approximately 14,000 feet of 8-inch high-pressure steel pipeline was installed on Dripping Springs from Sonoma Ranch Blvd. to Soledad Canyon Road, along with four 8-inch high-pressure gas valves and 4,820 feet of 4-inch low-pressure polyethylene pipeline.
- Over 770,000 feet of underground sewers were cleaned using high pressure water and a vacuum truck (Vactor) to remove the materials from the wastewater system. Cleaning the sewers removes debris to prevent blockages and backups, prepares sewers for inspection by remote camera, reduces odors caused by decaying materials, and prevents damage caused by those same decaying materials.
- East Mesa Wastewater Reclamation Facility located near the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market on Sonoma Ranch Blvd. cleans and treats 500,000 gallons of wastewater per day to near drinking water quality. The facility is operated with only two associates, and runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Green Grappler program increased tonnage over last year’s totals by 295 tons. This is an increase of approximately 88.86% over the previous year.
- Leak detection sensors were installed throughout the water distribution system. The sensors “listen” to sonic profiles in the water. Leak Detection Technicians follow-up on the reported possible leaks and using specialized equipment locate the source. If it is a leak, water line repair crews fix the emerging leak before it becomes a line break.
Residents can view the LCU annual report online at: https://www.las-cruces.org/2058/Annual-Reports
LCU can be reached at 575-528-3500 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.
PHOTO 1: Former LCU Director Dr. Jorge A. Garcia, P.E., was honored on the cover of the 2019-2020 LCU Annual Report. The report details the work that LCU has done during the fiscal year and statistics about services.