LADWP balks at more dust clean-up


The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will apparently clean up 98% of the toxic Owens Lake dust, but they don’t want to go the whole 100%.  In a lengthy press release from DWP Senior Assistant General Manager for Water, James McDaniel, the news came out that DWP has appealed the latest dust control requirement by the Great Basin Air Pollution Control District.

The release goes to great lengths to tell about how much money DWP has spent on the dry lake – a billions dollars – and how they really don’t want to spend much more.  The Owens Dry Lake dust has been described as the worst pollution source of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.  The California Air Resources Control Board had supported orders for DWP to clean it up.  So did a court.

Under specifics spelled out in the clean-up orders, the local Air Pollution Control District must assess whether further measures are required, according to air quality at the lake bed.  Ted Schade, Director of APCD, had earlier issued an order for DWP to clean up additional areas.  DWP claims they are being asked to clean up dust not created by their water diversions but by something else – maybe nature, they say.

DWP also complains that the State Lands Commission, which owns the lake bed, won’t let them use methods other than water or gravel to control the dust.  So, LADWP and APCD entered mediation.  It didn’t work.  DWP appealed the local order to the State.  Mr. McDaniel wants the public to know that DWP fears forever being saddled with dust control and that DWP customers will have to pay for it.

The news release claims that DWP’s “commitment to the Owens Valley environment has been demonstrated time and again by our implementation of Owens Lake dust control measures and dozens of enhancement projects in the Valley.”  What the release doesn’t say is that DWP has failed to carry out many projects in the Owens Valley ordered 15 years ago.  Currently, DWP has sued to get all of Mammoth’s water and continues to fight with Inyo County over groundwater pumping.

The DWP press release does say they hope to reach an agreement with APCD.

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10 Responses to LADWP balks at more dust clean-up

  1. inyoindian February 27, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    Time after time DWP get to have its way with the owens valley. Yeah i understand the history and how they bought off the land. For us that live here because we choose too, shouldnt have to sit and watch our valley be re-structured and sucked dry only to meet a third of LAs water demand. Now with a one of the valleys driest season yet, I see the city only pumping more water from our aquifer to meet there demand. And here we are the citizens of the valley get the short end of the stick. not to mention our habitats, ecosystems, plants and animals.

  2. Bill February 24, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

    It has been 100 years since DWP sucked the Owens Valley and lake dry. Maybe they will sponsor some events in the Valley to mark the milestone. NOT!!!!!!!!

  3. ana February 24, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

    I always wondered why the CDC hasn’t investigated the high incidence of lung diseases afflicting the people of southern Inyo. I’m sure that those of us who live within 35 miles of the Owens Dry Lake can think of several people we know who either had lung disease and passed on, or have been diagnosed with lung disease and are dealing with the effects of the condition. I always wondered if Erin Brockovich would be interested in investigating this very disturbing phenomenon. It is like the elephant in the room. Also, as the underground aquifers are drawn down by pumping, and the alkali flats increase in number, that particulate matter will also be circulating during wind storms. Nobody talks about that effect either. It is not just the Lake. The increases in the alkali flats that were previously somewhat stablized by vegetation coverage, are also the direct result of underground pumping by LA DWP. I think it will take somebody with courage and conviction to pursue this angle.

  4. MJA February 24, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    If the DWP only took 2% of the Owens Valley water and left 98% alone, where it is naturally meant to be, the dust problem would be over and the Valley would come back to life again.

    • Trouble February 25, 2012 at 1:11 am #

      MJA- any idea on what % they take today?

      • MJA February 25, 2012 at 11:48 am #

        I’d say they are taking it all. =

  5. Trouble February 24, 2012 at 8:23 am #

    Hope DWP chokes on it. Make them live there.

  6. JJ February 24, 2012 at 8:06 am #

    Remember what you wish for… More water on the lake means more lawsuits like the one in mammoth for ladwp to flex their water rights. Have a stream in your backyard? Maybe not much longer if they need to makeup for lost water.

  7. Big Rick O'Brien February 23, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

    If the city of Los Angeles didn’t suck Owens Lake dry 100 years ago in the first place, there wouldn’t BE a dust problem. THEY created the problem, THEY need to make it right.

  8. Long arm of the law February 23, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

    DWP should have thought about that back in 1912.


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