Public Utilities: Lots going on this summer

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By The Staff

The Department of Public Utilities doesn’t know the meaning of “summer vacation.”

Crews are out there nearly every day in the hot July sun, finishing up several infrastructure improvement projects currently underway in the county.

“The spring and summer construction season gives us a window for important infrastructure improvements that enable diversified choices for our community’s future,” said James Alarid, deputy utilities manager for Engineering at the DPU. “We prioritize the Department of Public Utilities projects across our four divisions – electric, water, natural gas, and wastewater – based on multiple weighted factors, such as confluence with other county projects to help us minimize disruption, and the condition assessment of each infrastructure item indicating its longevity, adequacy and reliability.”

Here’s the short list the department released of selected infrastructure improvement projects currently underway or scheduled to begin shortly.

• Pueblo Canyon Wastewater Treatment Plant Demolition: The former wastewater treatment plant for the townsite at the end of Olive Street will have all structures demolished, and paving, fences and concrete basins removed. Notification letters were sent to approximately 150 residents and stakeholders in late spring. Utilities work is proceeding with intermittent large trucks in and out of site to remove materials and bring in dirt. Re-seeding and restoration is tentatively planned for late August. The department is in discussion with volunteers for the planting of pine tree seedlings in spring 2009.

• White Rock - Rover Blvd. Sewer Line Replacement: A recent, preventative video inspection revealed partial collapse of a 363 foot long section of sewer main in Rover Blvd. requiring prompt replacement with superior polyethylene pipe. Notification letters were sent to the 28 residents in surrounding area, informing them that the line will be replaced. The pipe bursting method (underground method of pulling a new pipe through existing pipe) will be used which will eliminate the need for trenching. Work will begin at the end of July.

• San Ildefonso / Golf Course Water Line Replacement: The 10-inch line that runs across the east side of the municipal golf course from Arizona to Diamond, is too small to provide optimal flows for fire fighting and system hydraulics. The water line will be replaced with a new 16-inch line. In addition, a new 14-inch water line will be installed along the side of Barranca Mesa’s San Ildefonso Road near the roundabout. Utilities begins work this week on the side of San Ildefonso Road. Coned traffic diversion on this portion of San Ildefonso Road will occur sometime in August to allow ingress and egress of construction equipment. Notification letters were delivered to the 20 or so Barranca Mesa residents nearby. Golf course water line replacement will follow the San Ildefonso work in late October, after golf season has closed, with personal notification letters being delivered to Arizona residents at that time.

• Undergrounding of Electric Lines and New Electric/Communication Duct Bank: While the water line is being replaced on San Ildefonso, utilities crews will also install a series of new electric and communication duct bank vaults, to streamline future enhancements. After the new duct bank is installed, utilities crews will take the opportunity to underground electric lines that currently span the area, to improve electric reliability.

• White Rock - Estante and Potrillo Lift Station Replacements: Lift stations (that pump wastewater from a lower elevation to a higher elevation) that are crucial components to the Pajarito Acres sewer system, are well past their functional life spans and have become problematic with regard to operation and maintenance. The condition assessment associated with the department’s Sewer Reliability Program prioritizes these lift stations for replacement.

Construction will require excavation equipment in the roadway with minor delays when progressing through the construction zone. However, the horseshoe loop layout of the roadway enables motorists to avoid the construction area. Work will begin at the end of August with notification letters to residents to be delivered at that time.

• Pueblo Canyon Interceptor. The interceptor that conveys approximately 75 percent of the town site’s wastewater to the new wastewater treatment plant was modeled and found to be at capacity for existing conditions, and undersized for projected future conditions. New 18-inch polyethylene sewer line will replace 3,660 feet of 15-inch pipe that is more than 40 years old. The pipe bursting method will be used to eliminate the need for trenching in the canyon. New manholes will replace the 16 existing manholes. Site restoration will include re-vegetation. Work will begin in late August.

Details on all of these projects is available at www.losalamosus.com. Click on Public Utilities icon, then click on “Projects.” The projects website will continue to be updated as projects are completed and as schedules change.

The Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities is a public enterprise that provides county residents & organizations with natural gas, water, electric and wastewater services. The utilities board meets at 5:30 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month in the Annex Building at 901 Trinity Drive and the public is always welcome.

Dial 311 or 662-8333, or e-mail 311@lacnm.us for more information.