Engineering receives $1.5 million to establish water laboratory

By Linda Fresques

The New Mexico State University College of Engineering today received a gift of $1.5 million to establish the Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Water Quality Laboratory.  The gift was made by the Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Foundation.

College of Engineering Dean Steve Castillo, Senior Vice President of Freeport-McMoRan Americas John Galassini, New Mexico Senator Ben Altamirano and NMSU President Michael V. Martin celebrate a $1.5 million gift to establish a water laboratory.

“We are very pleased to be a partner with NMSU to ensure that the academic and research needs of the state and region are met in an effective manner,” said John Galassini, senior vice president, Freeport-McMoRan Americas. “The establishment of this new water quality lab represents new, cutting-edge research capability that does not currently exist within the state or the region.  The lab will also be an important addition to the campuswide natural resources research cluster initiative, which supports the development and implementation of strategies that build sustainable water, energy and land resources.”

The gift will be used for the development of a full-service analytical laboratory at NMSU.  The facility will be equipped to identify the chemical and colloidal characteristics of a water/particle system.  The college currently houses three small and aging analytical laboratories that are no longer sufficient to support research activities.

An estimated $1 million of the request will be used to acquire analytical equipment to support the laboratory.  The remaining $500,000 will be placed in an endowment with the NMSU Foundation with annual earnings used to support and maintain the laboratory.

“This facility will encourage and strengthen world-class research that will benefit not only the region, the state and Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold, but most importantly, play a major role in training high quality engineering students,” said College of Engineering Dean Steven P. Castillo.

The College of Engineering has identified water as a strategic research area and is conducting numerous research projects in the civil and chemical engineering departments as well as through the Institute for Energy and the Environment.

Water research at NMSU has gained federal support through the efforts of the state’s Congressional delegation. U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici recently secured federal funding to support an NMSU-General Electric partnership to investigate technologies to treat New Mexico’s large reservoir of saltwater. U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman has introduced a comprehensive water resources bill to address a range of water resource issues within the jurisdiction of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee that Bingaman chairs.


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