LADWP and APCD reach agreement on dust control and cultural resources


[Los Angeles, CA and Bridgeport, CA, June 27, 2013] — The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District (Great Basin) today announced that the two agencies have reached a major agreement regarding future dust control on portions of Owens Lake, preservation of historic Native American artifacts and use of new water-saving dust control areas. The agreement includes the following:

• The creation of a Cultural Resource Task Force, which will include Local Tribal representatives, to evaluate how required dust pollution mitigation efforts can be managed in a way that best protects Native American cultural resources. To allow the Cultural Resource Task Force time to complete its work, Great Basin has agreed not to enforce penalties against LADWP for project delays that are the result of efforts to safeguard these important resources.

• The recognition by Great Basin and LADWP that future dust control orders will give due consideration to the shared goals of controlling air pollution and decreasing the use of water at Owens Lake. To help accomplish these mutual goals, Great Basin has agreed to approve two water-saving dust control methods: Reduced Thickness Gravel and Brine Shallow Flooding and to establish an expedited framework for evaluation of potential future other water- saving methods.

• A plan for reducing dust from the Keeler Dunes, which impacts the residents of Keeler, including LADWP employees. LADWP will make a single payment of $10 million as a public benefit contribution to Great Basin for the air district to undertake designing, implementing and maintaining a dust control project at the Keeler Dunes.

“This agreement expedites the control of health-impacting air pollution from the Keeler Dunes while acknowledging the importance of saving fresh water and protecting cultural resources,” said Great Basin Air Pollution Control Officer Ted Schade. “It also shows that Great Basin and LADWP can work together to acknowledge and balance each other’s needs.”

“We believe that today’s agreement represents a first step toward resolving more of the outstanding issues we face as we attempt to safeguard scarce water supplies while protecting air quality in the Owens Valley,” said LADWP General Manager Ron Nichols. “I especially want to thank the key parties who made this agreement possible, including Inyo County Supervisors Linda Arcularius and Matt Kingsley, Mono County Supervisor Larry Johnston, and Los Angeles Board of Water and Power Commissioners Richard Moss and Jonathan Parfrey, whose tireless work over the past two months made this significant agreement possible.”

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20 Responses to LADWP and APCD reach agreement on dust control and cultural resources

  1. Desert Tortoise June 29, 2013 at 12:28 am #

    The longer term solution is underway. DWP has broken ground on two new water treatment plants in the San Fernando Valley that will allow the city to treat ground water contaminated by chromium six and other industrial pollutants that currently prevent LA from tapping much of the ground water resources in the city. When complete, the larger of the two plants at the I-5, SR-170 interchange in Sun Valley, will be the largest such plant in the world. LADWP plans to reduce it’s use of imported water by half when the plants are complete. The ability to decontaminate ground water will facilitate water banking rain runoff in the aquifer, something that is currently a waste of time as any water saved in the aquifer is immediately rendered undrinkable by industrial wastes that are the legacy of WWII and the Cold War.

    • Al Dykstra June 30, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

      I’ll believe it when I see it. I, for one, think LADWP will try to sell the water back to the Owens Valley municipal and agricultural users. Probably at an over-inflated price.

      • Desert Tortoise July 1, 2013 at 10:38 am #

        The settling basins for ground water banking have been there for all of my 55 years and then some, but have not been used in recent decades due to the amount of chromium six and TCE found in the aquifer. LA exploited it’s groundwater resources for many decades until chemical contamination became a problem. Half of the wells in the San Fernando Valley are unusable today. The San Gabriel Valley aquifer is even more severely affected and will require similar treatment programs, but there is no big water agency out there with the resources to pay for it.

        The sites are already under construction and will be up by the end of the decade. LA is also constructing a facility at the Tillman Treatment Plant to treat sewage to a drinkable standard and pump this water back into the aquifer. They cannot treat all of it because they have to have some less highly treated water to put back into the LA River.

        You can go around slamming LA all you wish, but LA works hard and makes things people want to buy. They are an industrial giant and you would not have a civilized life style if there weren’t places like LA that got dirty making things. You would not have phones, electricity or gas servces if those nasty people on the coast didn’t subsidize those services for the outlying regions, because the cost to provide those services to rural areas is far beyond any revenues collected from the beneficiaries of those services. Places like LA pick up the tab so you can have electric lights, phone, internet and gas service, but all you never have a kind word in return. Be glad the big cities care about the condition of your existence. Anger them enough and they might cut off the money.

        • Philip Anaya July 1, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

          “if there weren’t places like LA that got dirty making things” Come on DT. Hard shell hidden extremities are no reliable defense to extinction or credible discourse
          I get your take about how LA does not need to be slammed with every other word coming out of every Eastern Sierra pie hole but check yourself and realize that folks expect that an “industrial giant” might have brains connected to their efforts. LADWP did not pollute the ground water of the SFValley. The man on the moon, the stealth industrial defense complex that keeps America and the World (maybe the word should be “Humanity”) safe, saturated the LA aquifer with pollutants. The water banking below Hansen Dam was supposed to recharge the aquifer from the runoff of Tijunga Canyon. Bad decisions then and out of control industrial development now have caused the great expense LADWP ratepayers will be now incurring , just as the flawed (hopefully we are now able to say prior) mismanagement of the Owens Lake pollution problem
          . It all has to come correct at some point DT. It’s OK to say that LADWP has been a mixed, I don’t want to say blessing, in the Eastern Sierra but that’s the word I’m using. The Owens Valley is empty of development. There is access for recreation. There is habitat for nature.
          And then there is “the making dirty side of things” . There are the abuses to the environment, to the native vegetation, to the people who live here now, to the native people, who don’t even own the water rights under the ground they dwell upon. A small start to a long list of “the making dirty side of things”. Today I stood on a balcony of my workplace in the Encino hills and observed the urban forest of the San Fernando Valley with the knowledge that the “dirty side” of the City has been the plunder and the devastation of the Eastern Sierra. Kinder opinions and words can happen, but the City of Los Angeles has a lot of cleaning up to do.

          • Desert Tortoise July 1, 2013 at 8:39 pm #

            People like you will not be happy until LA is gone. It won’t happen. Unlike the Owens Valley, LA has products to offer the world and people willing to put in some darn long hours to make it happen. All those homes and businesses you dismiss in that valley you gaze upon are there because people were willing to work and take risks. Family by family people carved out little places they call their own and worked darn hard to do so. It is not an evil thing at all.

            Guess what. If those people didn’t settle that valley and build the businesses that make it fairly wealthy, there would be no rich urban sugar daddy to pay the bills for your electricity, gas, internet or roads. Without the subsidies of utilities from taxes and by the higher rates paid by businesses, individual homes would never be able to pay the cost of their utilities, and far away places with small populations would have to do without completely. That is what people like you refuse to understand. It isn’t the meager GDP of places like the Owens Valley that pays Edison to run electric lines to homes in the many isolated little towns. Rather it is the immense wealth generated by big cities that make a first world standard of living possible in such isolated places with such small outputs of goods and services to pay the bills with. Your existence, your living standard is entirely artificial thanks to subsidies from the wealthier places you like to disparage.

            You don’t pay your way in the Owens Valley. Not even close. LA, San Diego and the Bay Area pay the bills for your roads and utility services. Without their generosity with their tax revenues, without those terrible bleeding hearts who worry that your lives might be reduced to the level of a banana republic absent modern conveniences, you would not have electricity, running water, gas, internet or paved roads.

          • Benett Kessler July 2, 2013 at 8:28 am #

            Dear Desert, No one is saying LA should leave. We all realize they are dependent, in part, on the water from the Eastern Sierra. We want, from DWP, what we want from all people – ethical, considerate behavior like that of a neighbor or partner. Our news organization hears from people that they don’t want to have to fear LA when it comes to golf courses, parks and leases. As just about every member of the Inyo Supervisors said, there is a trust issue with LA. Life is not about comparing the building of businesses. LA took the Owens Valley resources needed to build businesses. That won’t happen much here. This is about how men and women treat each other. That’s what life is always about. Human relations are the beginning and the end of it. Benett Kessler

          • Rosie D July 2, 2013 at 9:07 am #

            I think you might like this Prophecy Philip A. This is the “dirty side of it all”
            “Only after the last tree has been cut down-
            Only after the last River has been poisened-
            Only after the last fish has been caught-
            Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten”.
            Cree Indian Prophecy

          • Feel for the city dwellers July 2, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

            I have nothing but pity in my heart for those who have no alternative than to live in any insanely overcrowded, polluted, and crime-infested community.
            But my pity does extend so far as those who must live in those conditions who feel obligated to put down those who have chosen to leave that urban nightmare.
            Keep your BMWs, your swimming pools and attitude. I prefer the Sierra. The wonderful, beautiful Sierra.

          • Big AL July 2, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

            Good word Philip.

          • Big AL July 2, 2013 at 5:53 pm #

            And you DT are blowing it …

        • Caustic style of communicating July 2, 2013 at 11:42 am #

          Dear Desert,

          Can’t happen but notice how freely you like to categorize and stereotype people and entire groups. Ie. “…people like you..”etc. is not exactly the most civil (or intellectual) way to address a personal opinion. In fact, I don’t recall this type of rhetoric ever being so prominent in my time here on Earth. Never seen it so bad today.
          This becomes a huge problem when a person’s mind closes to the exclusion of anything that may be contradictory to their way of thinking.
          The argument then deteriorates into the all-too-often feeling of “you are now my sworn enemy.”

          Minds are like parachutes – they only function when they are open.

          • could not agree more July 2, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

            I cant even read anything written by “desert dingbat.”
            I hate to say it, but it’s typical enviro-wackjob rhetoric, nothing more. It’s sad in a way… but oh well, life goes on.

          • Philip Anaya July 2, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

            Hey there DT
            People like me have a unique and lucky existence on the planet. My folks were WWII solders, one a 82nd Airborne trooper and the other a Brit truck driver and both were lucky to survive, find one another and end up with three of us in the San Fernando Valley. Lucky one of three, me. My Pop was a working stiff and my Mom left England to be with him and dwell in the evolving and growing Urban Forest that they nutured with love and with waters from the Eastern Sierra. Owens River water is in my blood. My years of growing up in the San Fernando Valley started at age one in 1949 and growing up has been happening ever since that time. The SF Valley has been an evolving kind of a place ever since Nov.1913, but post WWII development in the SF Valley is off the charts in terms of growth, economic development and importance in the world. I don’t claim personal historian status but the SF Valley is a very different place today than it was in the 50’s,60’s and 70’s especially with aero space in mind. The urban forest however grew and grew and the runoff waters that could have sustained the Eastern Sierra poured down the gutters of the streets of Los Angeles. So much for people like me who have memories, family and history and lately a recognition of what people like me need to say and do as we now find ourselves dwelling in this place we have always loved and aspired to find finally a home.
            This forum for our expressions is all about ideas, the exchange and gift of knowledge, the understanding and dialog between all peoples hopefully like me. Cree People knowledge is the gift and the recognition of this knowledge is to appreciate the gift ,wonder and to follow the path to this knowledge.
            Come on DT . I know that you are always on the path to answers and to knowledge. Think about how this world of ours might be if everyone was seeking answers and knowledge.

        • Talon38c July 6, 2013 at 7:52 pm #

          There’s zero chance that LADWP will be able to make a dent in LA’s water supply deficit through groundwater improvements. A historical review of past UWMP (1985 through 2010), LADWP routinely projected improved supplies in excess of 100,000 AF.

          In the 1995 UWMP they projected supplies as high as 152,000 AF and in the 2000 UWMP they went as 170,000. The reality however is that groundwater supplies since 1985 have gone the other way falling from 100,000 to 76,000 AF. In 2005 it fell to 46,000 AF. LA’s rainfall averages can’t support 100,000+ figures. The only way they could meet such figures would be to buy additional MWD water, put it in the ground and then immediately pump it back out.

          LA’s water deficit can be attributed to past UWMP’s (1990, 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010) that consistently cited rosy projections of well over 750,000 AF. That gave the LA Water Board a blank check to approve any and every developers request for water. (It’s probably no coincidence that this figure is about the combined capacity of both LA Aqueduct barrels.) This of course led to the deficit the city is in and the permanent Emergency Water Conservation Order signed in 2008.

  2. Philip Anaya June 28, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    Does this end the current litigation? It is time to apply those wasted dollars to solutions. Hats off to all those that worked so hard for this great news.

    • Benett Kessler June 28, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

      The press release did not say this ended the major litigation.

      • Al Dykstra June 30, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

        I think You’re correct, Benett. All I saw was something about mitigation for Keeler Dunes but nothing that really addresses the long term impact of the rape of the Owens Valley that has been carried out by LADWP for the past 100 years.

        • Benett Kessler June 30, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

          You are correct. That larger problem was not addressed.

          • Ted Schade June 30, 2013 at 8:53 pm #

            Correct Benett. These were two issues that were likely headed for lawsuits that are resolved, for now. There are still two lawsuits (one regarding additional dust controls and one regarding fee payments) and three Air Resources Board appeals that have not been resolved. This takes a bit of patience. However, it does show, like in the past, that DWP is able to settle disputes to the benefit of both sides. I hope this continues.

  3. MJA June 28, 2013 at 8:17 am #

    They will have to put gravel on the rest of the dried up valley someday too. =


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