Routine drainage to NMSU’s Stewart Street sparks wet roadways


Cassidy Kuester

NMSU routine drainage floods the intersection of Stewart Street and South Espina Street.

The large amount of water streaming into the intersection of Espina and Stewart street was hard to miss for students at New Mexico State University this week.  

Though the small flood has caught the attention of many passers-by, this water simply comes from routine maintenance conducted by the Charles Strickland Central Plant. 

Victor Palafox, supervisor at the Charles Strickland Central Plant, said the water comes from the cool pool underneath the parking lot behind the Plant. 

“This is to extract all the water from [the pool] and get people down there to examine the plumbing,” Palafox said. 

Palafox said the cool pool can hold three million gallons of 45-50-degree temperature water. In the summer months, this water is used to cool down every building on NMSU’s campus.  

Draining happens every five years, Palafox said. All of the water being drained fills up the ponding area at Sam Steele. 

“The only purpose of [the ponding area] is to hold this water,” Palafox said. 

While the amount of water being drained looks concerning, Palafox said this is simply routine maintenance and nothing of concern. He said they started late on Monday, and plan on finishing draining the cool pool by Friday the 18. 

Emilio Rivera, a senior at NMSU, said he first saw the water at around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. 

“It looks a little bit worse than it did this morning,” Rivera said. 

Since Monday, the staff at Charles Strickland Central Plant begin the drain at 8 a.m. and stop at 3:30 p.m. 

“What you don’t want is for it to mess up or burst on you or something; Especially in the middle of the summer when you need the cool pool,” Palafox said. 

He said during emergencies, divers are sent into the cold water underneath the parking lot in order to make smaller repairs. Divers can’t really inspect the entire line, which is why it’s necessary to drain the compartment in its entirety in order to do the proper work, Palafox added. 

Once the cool pool has completed its draining and inspection, a line containing domestic water will be opened, filling the cool pool yet again. It will take between two and three days to fill back up, according to Palafox.  

The water that will be drained and end up in the ponding area will remain there until it evaporates and gets sent back into the water cycle. 

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