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

Feb. 26, 2020

New, Revolutionary Methods to Dust Handle Essential at Owens Lake, Report Says

WASHINGTON – A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Drugs finds new and impressive techniques to dust manage are required at Owens Lake, California, to enhance air high quality, lower water use, and preserve habitats.

Performance and Impacts of Dust Handle Measures for Owens Lake says when much progress has been manufactured in increasing air high quality by way of dust manage, none of the dust manage methods currently in use at the lake meet up with the mandated stages of air high quality when also addressing problems about water use and atmosphere. Present dust manage measures are dominated by methods that use huge amounts of water, such as shallow flooding. The report suggests foreseeable future investigate take a look at person and hybrid dust manage methods and build new techniques for arranging and analyzing the use of these methods. 

Owens Lake made use of to include about 100 sq. miles, right until water was diverted from the Owens River in 1913 to convey water to the metropolis of Los Angeles. The diversion brought about huge portions of the lake bed to dry out, and today it addresses much less than just one-third of its former area. Right before dust controls ended up implemented, the uncovered lakebed manufactured huge amounts of dust below significant winds, resulting in the maximum concentrations wherever in the U.S. of airborne PM10, or particulate make a difference with a diameter of 10 micrometers or much less.

The Los Angeles Department of H2o and Electrical power (LADWP) has put in $2.1 billion on dust manage attempts as of Might 2019, mostly in the type of shallow flooding of the lake, which is made use of on about sixty two p.c of the dust manage locations on the lakebed. In a 2014 stipulated judgment, LADWP and the Wonderful Basin Unified Air Pollution Handle District (GBUAPCD) agreed to count much less on shallow flooding for dust manage and to look into new, refined methods that lower water use. The stipulated judgment also directed that the National Academies examine the success of choice dust manage attempts, taking water use, price, trustworthiness, longevity, and environmental impacts into account.

“Much progress has currently been manufactured in controlling dust at Owens Lake,” mentioned David Allen, director of the Center for Strength and Environmental Means at the University of Texas at Austin, and chair of the panel that wrote the report. “However, our report finds that Owens Lake requirements impressive alternatives that not only manage dust to meet up with air high quality requirements but use much less water and meet up with the requirements of the neighborhood atmosphere as effectively.”

The report emphasizes that dust manage methods made use of at a wide variety of places on the lakebed ought to be evaluated making use of a units approach, assessing their capacity to enhance air high quality and their positioning — contemplating proximity to groundwater, salinity, habitats, and water price savings possible. Administration decisions ought to take the benefit and abundance of diverse ecosystems into consideration, such as the lake’s shallow flooding locations that catch the attention of migratory and nesting birds or the alkaline meadows created by vegetated dust manage measures. Neighborhood tribes have expressed problems about the possible harm to valued cultural assets on the Owens Lake bed — brought about by the use of heavy machinery and leveling operations that appear with some dust manage measures — and preservation of the pure landscape. The report says that a units approach can ideal tackle the a number of aims of dust manage and problems about its affect.

GBUAPCD and LADWP ought to build and deploy new methods to evaluate PM10 emissions from person dust manage locations, supplementing the existing monitoring network, the report says. Going ahead, effectiveness of dust manage measures ought to be far more specifically connected to PM10 emissions, as opposed to surrogate metrics like percentage of land coated by vegetation. This would allow the use of far more impressive and adaptive approaches for dust manage.

The research — carried out by the Owens Lake Scientific Advisory Panel — was sponsored by Wonderful Basin Unified Air Pollution Handle District and the Los Angeles Department of H2o and Electrical power. The National Academies are private, nonprofit establishments that provide unbiased, goal analysis and assistance to the country to remedy complicated difficulties and notify community plan decisions associated to science, technological innovation, and drugs. They operate below an 1863 congressional charter to the National Academy of Sciences, signed by President Lincoln. 

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Megan Lowry, Media Relations Officer
Place of work of Information and Public Facts
202-334-2138 e-mail information@nas.edu