By Cassie McClure
Published in the Las Cruces Bulletin 2/19/21
The City of Las Cruces’ services spread wide across the area, particularly noticeable when Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) gives a tour. Covering the East Mesa Water Reclamation Facility to the West Mesa Wastewater Treatment Facility, a tour of essential utility sites was given to City Manager Ifo Pili and Assistant City Manager Ikani Taumoepeau to see the systems in place that serve residents.
The first stop was at the LCU’s Solid Waste Fleet Shop, detailing the savings from having everything from mechanics to welders in-house and the upgrades to the trash trucks with Routeware. Robin Lawrence, deputy director Solid Waste, showed the images the trucks take from missing or overfilled bins and how rebalancing the routes – with drivers having a more even amount of pickups – will allow for LCU to absorb future city population growth.
Next was a stop at the Jorge A. Garcia Water Quality Laboratory, where staff explained how state certification was delayed due to COVID-19. Still, as the lab now has been certified, LCU can now possibly look at providing testing services for other agencies. Then it was onto Jacob Hands Wastewater Treatment Facility, where the newest addition was the co-generators that convert methane from the wastewater treatment process into electricity that can help power the facility during the day.
Stops at the Martinez and West Mesa Gas Regulator Stations gave ample time to explain how natural gas is taken from a cross country, high-pressure transmission line down to local distribution lines and into low-pressure lines that run into neighborhoods and homes.
Pili congratulated the entire Natural Gas team on its clean facilities and rapid response statistics to locating lines, particularly when finding leaks. “With our City’s 30-year plan to get to a sustainable energy future, Natural Gas will still be the key because you can’t beat its affordability and reliability,” Pili said.
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: City Manager Ifo Pili examines the gas lines at the West Mesa Gas Regular Station.