By Cassie McClure
Published in the Las Cruces Bulletin 8/27/21
Emergencies happen at all hours of the day, and Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) is prepared to jump into action – day or night, and even rain or shine. With rain threatening to overwhelm holding pools, LCU sent crews to ensure that families were kept safe during the storm.
“Our crews went above the call of duty and made sure that water that was already pooling didn’t back up into the neighborhood,” LCU Interim Deputy Director Ronald N. Borunda said.
On-call that weekend was Water Distribution Crew Leader Mike Lara. It had been raining all day, and Lara knew that their services might be required. “We went in at around 2 a.m. on Saturday and stayed until about 3:00 a.m. on Sunday,” Lara said.
Along with Heavy Equipment Operators Donnail Bailey and Ricardo Gomez, the crew took out the “Ditch Witch,” which is the name for the company that supplies the specialized vacuum pump. It can drain 800 gallons per hour.
Residents slept through their work, but Borunda said that sometimes residents get naturally curious about the work that might be happening – and may worry about their property.
“It’s completely understandable that they want to know what we’re doing, but in situations like that, our crews are very focused and in crisis mode,” he said. “We are dedicated to making sure that not only property, but that quality of life remains during an emergency.”
He continued, “In general, we’re happy to answer questions, but when things are moving fast, follow our lead until we have a minute to make sure that everything is draining as it needs to.”
Both Lara and Borunda said that if you do see crews setting up that it’s a good time to ask if a vehicle needs to be moved for better access to the emergency location and to make sure that residents can access their vehicles during the situation if needed.
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: If you see LCU Heavy Equipment Operator Donnail Bailey and LCU Water Crew Leader Mike Lara with the Ditch Witch pump in your neighborhood, know that they may be working on an emergency that LCU is on-call for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.