By Cassie McClure and Suzanne Michaels
Published in the Las Cruces Sun-News 1/5/20
You might only picture an “underground city” beneath the streets of big cities like New York City or San Francisco, but most cities have plenty of passageways running under underground. Las Cruces alone has more than 500 miles of sewer lines running beneath city streets! That’s equal to the distance from our city to the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
What all happens down there? It’s up to one little truck to find out, the Las Cruces Utilities’ (LCU) robotic sewer truck. The little truck measures 10-inches by 25-inches, and carries a camera measuring 6-inches by 18-inches long to carry out it’s important mission. The truck’s camera “sees” what LCU employees up on the ground cannot see; cracks or damage to sewer lines that could lead to a collapse. It can also find the exact location of damage so workers at ground level know exactly where to dig to make repairs. Sometimes the truck gets to see friends along the way, like a mouse or even a snake.
What our little LCU sewer truck doesn’t have is a name. But, who better to help us than Las Cruces elementary students? They’ve helped before, giving the name “Aguacito” to the roadrunner outside the West Mesa Industrial Park, which came from David Uribe’s fourth and fifth grade bilingual class at Hillrise Elementary.
Here are some ways your teacher can incorporate this effort into your class:
- Write a story! Is our truck a boy or a girl? What is his/her story? How did he/she become a mascot for keeping our sewers safe and clean?
- What do you think the truck’s day is like? How does the truck work with the LCU employees who watch the camera signal sent back to the surface?
- How might some of those characteristics lead to a really great name for our truck?
Maybe choose two top names from your class and have a discussion explaining why one should win out over the other.
Use your creativity to find the one true name for our truck. The only rule is: Please submit only one name per class. Schools may submit names from as many classes as they’d like.
Teachers: The deadline for your class to submit a name is MARCH 1st! Please email the truck name your class chooses along with the school’s name, teacher’s name, and contact information to LCU Wastewater Deputy Director, John Mrozek, at firstname.lastname@example.org (email too if you have questions and feel free to attach students’ truck stories or pictures!) The winning name will be selected by the Las Cruces Utilities Board on March 14th and a pizza party for the winning class will be on a day convenient for you during the third week of March.
You can reach Las Cruces Utilities at 528-3500 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Las Cruces Utilities provides GAS – WATER – WASTEWATER – SOLID WASTE services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.
PHOTO 1: The little robot truck that roams our sewers needs a name! Las Cruces elementary school students assist. Teachers: help your class submit the winning name and win a pizza party!