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Utilities

Posted on: August 11, 2019

Las Cruces Utilities Opens New Water Quality Laboratory

WQL Ribbon Cutting

By Cassie McClure and Suzanne Michaels

Published in the Las Cruces Sun-News 8/11/19

 

After nearly 30 years of planning and one year of construction, the new Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) Water Quality Laboratory is ready to take the community’s water safety to the next level. On August 2nd, the ribbon-cutting and grand opening was not only attended by dignitaries, but also by extremely excited City associates who will no longer be working “elbow to elbow” in the current lab, which has been serving the community for three decades.


At 11,683 square feet, the new building was designed to be LEED-certified and cost slightly more than $3.9 million to construct and will be home to the next generation of water quality testing in Las Cruces, and possibly beyond. The new laboratory is nearly five times larger than the existing one and will not only serve the residents of Las Cruces, but also aims to be a regional center for smaller utilities in the area to bring their water for advanced tests. Crucially, the new building separates water and wastewater testing into two different lab spaces to totally eliminate opportunities for cross contamination.


“It’s a blessing for our city,” said District 4 City Councilor, Jack Eakman. LCU Board of Commissioners Vice-Chair, Ed Archuleta, former president and CEO of El Paso Water Utilities, said, “Technology has come a long way. We used to measure parts per million in water; now it’s parts per billion, allowing us an even greater ability to ensure quality for the customers.”


Interim City Manager, William Studer, pointed out that everyone involved in the building and design process was local - from the architects and engineers to the construction company.


“We sought input from Water Quality Lab staff, to understand their specific needs,” explained ASA Architect, Robert Williams. “It was a little difficult for them to picture how much space it would really be, even while peeking in during the construction - but once the walls and countertops were in place, they could tell right away that it’s just so much bigger for them.”


The microscopes still had their protective plastic coverings as the tour group wound its wa

By Cassie McClure and Suzanne Michaels

 

After nearly 30 years of planning and one year of construction, the new Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) Water Quality Laboratory is ready to take the community’s water safety to the next level. On August 2nd, the ribbon-cutting and grand opening was not only attended by dignitaries, but also by extremely excited City associates who will no longer be working “elbow to elbow” in the current lab, which has been serving the community for three decades.


At 11,683 square feet, the new building was designed to be LEED-certified and cost slightly more than $3.9 million to construct and will be home to the next generation of water quality testing in Las Cruces, and possibly beyond. The new laboratory is nearly five times larger than the existing one and will not only serve the residents of Las Cruces, but also aims to be a regional center for smaller utilities in the area to bring their water for advanced tests. Crucially, the new building separates water and wastewater testing into two different lab spaces to totally eliminate opportunities for cross contamination.


“It’s a blessing for our city,” said District 4 City Councilor, Jack Eakman. LCU Board of Commissioners Vice-Chair, Ed Archuleta, former president and CEO of El Paso Water Utilities, said, “Technology has come a long way. We used to measure parts per million in water; now it’s parts per billion, allowing us an even greater ability to ensure quality for the customers.”


Interim City Manager, William Studer, pointed out that everyone involved in the building and design process was local - from the architects and engineers to the construction company.


“We sought input from Water Quality Lab staff, to understand their specific needs,” explained ASA Architect, Robert Williams. “It was a little difficult for them to picture how much space it would really be, even while peeking in during the construction - but once the walls and countertops were in place, they could tell right away that it’s just so much bigger for them.”


The microscopes still had their protective plastic coverings as the tour group wound its way through the natural light-flooded building. LCU Water Quality Lab Manager, Luis Guerra, took a minute during the tour to sincerely thank City Councilors Greg Smith and Gill Sorg who supported funding for the new laboratory through the 2015 Utility Bonds. Additional monies were provided by the Utilities Water and Wastewater Development funds. “We’re just so ready to get started in the new space,” he said. “We work 7 days a week because our community uses water 7 days a week. Now we have a facility which will allow us to do an even better job for the city.”


Interested in seeing the lab for yourself? LCU will host two public open houses on August 15th & 16th from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, at 2845 W. Amador Avenue. Come see where your water will be tested and how Las Cruces Utilities is keeping you and your family safe.


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.


CAPTIONS:


PHOTO 1: LCU Board of Commissioners and other dignitaries mark the much-anticipated opening of the new Water Quality Lab, which dramatically improves the testing capability of the City’s water and wastewater.



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