SCSWA Flexible Residents’ Needs After Emergencies By Cassie McClure August 27, 2021

Headline: SCSWA Flexible Residents’ Needs After Emergencies

Submitted by South Central Solid Waste Authority

Date: August 27, 2021 (Bulletin)

Caption: After the recent flooding, SCSWA has extended hours for the La Union County Collection Center at 2590 Visnaga Street to help the residents dispose of contaminated household goods affected by water and mud damage.

La Union, New Mexico, and its residents were tested by extreme weather that led to flooding and unfortunate damage to property. Thick mud destroyed furniture and appliances. It made for habitat for mold in rugs. It knocked over fences and brought down tree limbs. It made a lot of trash.

With South Central Solid Waste Authority managing a county collection center in La Union at 2590 Visnaga Street, the staff knew that extra availability for trash disposal might be needed for residents who would be cleaning up.

“We began mobilizing our operational response to the rain event as early as Friday when we predicted an increase in waste,” explained Rafael Leos, SCSWA deputy director. “We brought extra containers and extra staff for extra oversight.”

“When the evacuation was proclaimed, we had our response team ready even though we didn’t have as many patrons as we thought we might have at that time,” he said.

“This was a situation where we need to exercise our obligatory duty to report these changes to the New Mexico Environment Department,” Leos said. “But it was also an event that allowed our management to pull together our resources and staff in addition to the County’s. When the call came from the County, we were ready to provide relief.”

Doña Ana County Assistant County Manager Chuck McMahon explained that they have a great collaboration with SCSWA, particularly during emergencies. “SCSWA is a good partner who is willing to provide support for residents to get rid of trash and get back to recovery and repairing their homes,” he said.

“Sometimes things happen on short notice, and it’s good to have the flexibility with our emergency response,” said McMahon.

In this case, the La Union county collection center had longer hours for residents that needed more time to drop off cabinetry and household goods that might have been contaminated and unhygienic, especially if the repair work for families may happen on top of a full day’s work.