By Cassie McClure
Published in Las Cruces Bulletin on 8/5/2022
Hector Lozoya and his coworkers might have the best office view at Las Cruces Utilities (LCU). Lozoya, a Heavy Equipment Operator, works at the Foothills Landfill Composting Facility (FLCF) at 555 S. Sonoma Ranch Boulevard, which has wide open views of the Organ Mountains.
“We stay busy, especially at this point of the year with people getting the compost that has been getting finer with the screening we’ve been doing,” said Lozoya.
Lozoya is one of the operators who maintains the compost that LCU makes from yard waste collected throughout Las Cruces with the Green Grappler. He also has other duties around FLCF, including using the flip screen machine to sort the compost to ensure that the larger sticks and trash might have ended up in the compost by mistake.
“We shake out the clear bags by hand and try to check for any household trash before it goes into the chipper,” he said. “It has to be clear and not black bags because we won’t know if the bag is filled with all trash.”
The flip screen is like a big tumbler with one-inch holes to process the mulch, making it finer by releasing some bigger wood pieces and some trash.
“We get a lot of compliments on the compost,” Lozoya said. “Residents can watch the process of us at the landfill taking the yard waste from the Green Grappler or the drop-off piles, putting it in the chipper, and then see how we put it in rows to cook out weeds and pathogens.”
He continued, “Residents also like that it’s free to take as much mulch as they’d like, either the finer compost or the thicker mulch with larger sticks. I’ll help load them a truck-full with our tractor.”
If residents don’t have a truck, LCU recommends bringing buckets, along with a shovel and gloves. The facility is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“Sometimes it’s hard work when it’s hot or windy,” he said, “But it is fun and rewarding to work with our residents to make their yard waste into something that we can give back to make our community better.”
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: LCU Heavy Equipment Operator Hector Lozoya is a face you’ll see at the Foothills Landfill Composting Facility. He might help you load your compost but also helps residents know where to take their clean fill items.