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Owens Lake Dust Mitigation

The Owens Lake Dust mitigation Project Phase 9/10 for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is the ongoing project to control and reduce the dust produced by the wind and dry lake bed of Owens Lake in Keeler, CA. The site is the largest source of dust pollution in the United States. The effort to mitigate the pollution began in 2001, and since then, air pollution from the lakebed has decreased to 95% of its original levels.

This phase of the project uses the gravel cover technique, which involves laying coarse gravel to disrupt high wind velocity and to protect finer particles of lakebed soils and prevent their dispersion, as well as water diversion to continue shallow flooding in the basin. In the shallow flood areas, water was distributed to the Dust Control Areas (DCAs) with the installation of laterals and conveyance pipelines. Water was contained by perimeter berms to help reduce dust emissions and to assist in the overall management of salinity and water on the lakebed. Water containment was achieved by constructing new berms on the undisturbed lakebed and by placing additional fill and riprap on the previously dry berm.

Despite several challenges, including multiple change orders and the remote location, the project was a great success and was completed in late 2017.