By Cassie McClure
Published in Las Cruces Sun-News 6.04.22
Many Las Crucens cleared out their homes while at home during the pandemic. Plenty of that trash ended up on the curb for pick up by the Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) Grappler. Drivers like LCU Solid Waste Heavy Equipment Operator Dennis Lovato worked through the pandemic, but he’s happy to experience the more typical times of the year–like when more mattresses and old TVs end up on the curb after tax returns come in.
Lovato doesn’t just pick up the trash from 100 to 120 locations per day; he also records his work through snapshots done from an iPad to show the before and after, something that his LCU Residential Route Supervisor Philip Glasson has access to back in the office.
“We can see if a resident maybe had too much for the grappler or something we couldn’t pick up because it was too close to a rock wall,” said Glasson. “It could also be something on the curb that we can’t take, like a toilet, next to things that we can and do, like old, oversized furniture.”
The Grappler is a monthly residential service provided by LCU to pick up large, bulky trash items too big to fit into the brown City trash containers. There is no additional charge for this service. The Grappler will pick up an amount equal to 2-level half-ton pickup truck loads, or four cubic yards, equivalent to four 5-foot by 3-foot by 2-foot adjacent piles.
“All Grappler items should be placed at the curb and at least five feet away from all other items and obstacles, trash containers, cars, trees, and mailboxes,” said Glasson.
The Grappler cannot pick up any construction or remodeling material such as glass or mirrors, cast iron sinks or bathtubs, concrete, flooring, fluorescent bulbs or fixtures, hazardous waste, insulation, fiberglass, paint, roofing, any ceramic appliances, or vehicle parts.
“The Grappler can be seen around town at other locations, especially when there are reports of illegal dumping in alleys,” said Glasson. “We take pictures there too because the before and after serves as a great way to educate customers on what we do for the community and how we can ensure that it stays clean.”
LCU – Your Utility Connection. 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: Before and after photos by the Grappler. Unfortunately, this customer had too much for one pickup. Taking the picture gives the supervisor the ability to talk to the customer about how much the Grappler can take per household per month.