By Cassie McClure
With the help of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America's Resources for Tomorrow) project, the City of Las Cruces (City) was awarded a grant for 50 percent of the cost for one of its newest additions: the NO-DES truck.
The NO-DES (Neutral Output Discharge Elimination System) truck and 20-foot trailer, which totaled $524,907.00, allows Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) to do much less hydrant flushing, which cuts down on service interruptions to customers and is a more sustainable way to solve water quality issues while conserving water.
When attached to two hydrants, the NO-DES pump circulates water at desired flows in the opposite direction of the natural flow of the line being flushed. This action stirs up sediment and scours the inside of the main, which is more effective than conventional flushing.
Another difference with flushing is that the water being flushed is maintained between the two hydrants so there is no possibility of contamination. Customers will not experience the temporary increase of red water – stirred up iron and manganese that is naturally found in the water supply.
BOR Project Manager John Irizarry came to Las Cruces see the outcome of the WaterSMART grant. The crew was happy to show him both what comes out of the water and gets caught in the filters, and how the mechanisms on the truck work.
“When this project came up, I really wanted to see it happen,” Irizarry said. “It’s so important for smaller communities to get this help to remove barriers to sustainable water management.”
LCU Interim Deputy Director Water Ronald N. Borunda explained that there is a cost to the City for this process in addition to the water lost.
“Water flushed from the hydrants has been pumped, treated, and distributed at a cost to the utility,” Borunda said. “The more we use the NO-DES, the less clean water is wasted.”
Las Cruces Utilities Customer Central can be reached at 575/541-2111 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.
Las Cruces Utilities associates show BOR Project Manager John Irizarry what is captured by the NO-DES truck – one filter is clean, one is dirty.
Note: This story was recently published in the Las Cruces Bulletin.