By Cassie McClure
Published in Bulletin 11.19.21
While many in the community may have been taking time to work on random fixes around their homes during the pandemic, Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) did the same at some of their facilities, including the Foothills Landfill Composting Facility (FLCF) at 555 S. Sonoma Ranch Blvd.
“There were new floors installed, but more importantly, a camera system that gives our station attendants the ability to see the bed of larger trucks that come to dump clean waste,” said LCU Interim Solid Waste Deputy Director Rosa Montoya. “This means our attendants do not have to climb up the trucks to ensure the load doesn’t have something it shouldn’t.”
Clean fill material should be material that, when buried, has no adverse effects on people or the environment. Clean fill materials include natural materials such as clay, soil, rock, and other inert materials. Other acceptable clean fill material includes asphalt, bricks, concrete [rebar or wire mesh sticking out must be shorter than two inches], and dirt. Contamination in a load is not only hazardous material but can include trash and branches.
“Those branches, however, can go into the FLCF in the yard waste area,” said Montoya. “Our staff recycles this material into high-quality, organic mulch.”
Yard waste is chipped, piled up, watered, turned, and left in the sun to "cook" at temperatures above 131 degrees to destroy weed seeds and pathogens to make the compost useful for landscaping and gardening. Water is added from reclaimed water from the nearby LCU East Mesa Water Reclamation Facility.
The free composted mulch is part of the circular economy of yard waste, along with the Green Grappler, which collects the yard waste residents dispose of in clear bags. As part of LCU residential Solid Waste service, the Green Grappler can pick up an amount equal to two-level half-ton pick-up truck loads or four cubic yards, equivalent to four 5’x3’x2’ adjacent piles. Larger loads may be scheduled for pick up for an additional charge and can be arranged by calling Customer Central at 575-541-2111.
Mulch helps with blowing dust, erosion control, and provides ground cover to hold moisture longer. Residents who do pick up the mulch should know that the mulch is not screened, so sometimes bigger pieces of wood can sneak in. Those pieces can be added back to their next Green Grappler pickup pile.
The facility is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Residents are encouraged to take what they need, even filling up a pickup truck. If a truck is not available, LCU recommends bringing buckets, and don’t forget a shovel.
LCU Customer Central can be reached at 575-541-2111 from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. LCU provides clean, safe, and reliable services to Las Cruces residents and businesses. Learn more at: las-cruces.org/180/Utilities For emergencies, call Dispatch at 526-0500.
PHOTO 1: LCU Heavy Equipment Operator Ted Lauturner says hello to fellow coworker, LCU Heavy Equipment Operator Rudy Romero, who dropped off clean fill material.
PHOTO 2: New cameras at the FCLF will help station attendants make sure the loads have no contaminants, instead of needing to climb the trucks to check.