New, Innovative Approaches to Dust Control Needed at Owens Lake, Report Says

Feb. 26, 2020

New, Impressive Methods to Dust Regulate Necessary at Owens Lake, Report Says

WASHINGTON – A new report from the Nationwide Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medication finds new and progressive techniques to dust control are required at Owens Lake, California, to enhance air high quality, decrease water use, and protect habitats.

Performance and Impacts of Dust Regulate Actions for Owens Lake states although a lot progress has been produced in strengthening air high quality via dust control, none of the dust control methods at this time in use at the lake meet up with the mandated ranges of air high quality although also addressing considerations about water use and atmosphere. Current dust control measures are dominated by methods that use significant quantities of water, these as shallow flooding. The report recommends foreseeable future analysis look at individual and hybrid dust control methods and develop new techniques for organizing and analyzing the use of those people methods. 

Owens Lake employed to deal with about a hundred square miles, right up until water was diverted from the Owens River in 1913 to bring water to the town of Los Angeles. The diversion brought on significant parts of the lake bed to dry out, and right now it addresses considerably less than a person-3rd of its previous place. Before dust controls were applied, the uncovered lakebed manufactured significant quantities of dust below large winds, ensuing in the greatest concentrations any where in the U.S. of airborne PMten, or particulate matter with a diameter of ten micrometers or considerably less.

The Los Angeles Division of Drinking water and Electricity (LADWP) has used $ billion on dust control attempts as of Might 2019, mainly in the variety of shallow flooding of the lake, which is employed on about 62 p.c of the dust control areas on the lakebed. In a 2014 stipulated judgment, LADWP and the Terrific Basin Unified Air Air pollution Regulate District (GBUAPCD) agreed to rely considerably less on shallow flooding for dust control and to investigate new, refined methods that decrease water use. The stipulated judgment also directed that the Nationwide Academies consider the performance of different dust control attempts, getting water use, charge, trustworthiness, sturdiness, and environmental impacts into account.

“Much progress has presently been produced in managing dust at Owens Lake,” explained David Allen, director of the Center for Vitality and Environmental Sources at the University of Texas at Austin, and chair of the panel that wrote the report. “However, our report finds that Owens Lake requirements progressive remedies that not only control dust to meet up with air high quality specifications but use considerably less water and meet up with the requirements of the neighborhood atmosphere as properly.”

The report emphasizes that dust control methods employed at a range of spots on the lakebed ought to be evaluated utilizing a techniques approach, evaluating their potential to enhance air high quality and their positioning — considering proximity to groundwater, salinity, habitats, and water personal savings prospective. Administration selections ought to acquire the worth and abundance of various ecosystems into thought, these as the lake’s shallow flooding areas that catch the attention of migratory and nesting birds or the alkaline meadows designed by vegetated dust control measures. Regional tribes have expressed considerations about the prospective hurt to valued cultural methods on the Owens Lake bed — brought on by the use of major machinery and leveling operations that come with some dust control measures — and preservation of the natural landscape. The report states that a techniques approach can greatest handle the several objectives of dust control and considerations about its effect.

GBUAPCD and LADWP ought to develop and deploy new methods to assess PMten emissions from individual dust control areas, supplementing the latest monitoring network, the report states. Shifting ahead, overall performance of dust control measures ought to be far more specifically linked to PMten emissions, as opposed to surrogate metrics like percentage of land coated by vegetation. This would help the use of far more progressive and adaptive methods for dust control.

The research — carried out by the Owens Lake Scientific Advisory Panel — was sponsored by Terrific Basin Unified Air Air pollution Regulate District and the Los Angeles Division of Drinking water and Electricity. The Nationwide Academies are non-public, nonprofit institutions that present impartial, objective analysis and assistance to the nation to resolve sophisticated problems and notify general public policy selections relevant to science, technology, and medicine. They work below an 1863 congressional charter to the Nationwide Academy of Sciences, signed by President Lincoln. 

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