ARB Research Seminar

This page updated June 19, 2013

PM10 Dust Control at Owens Lake, California

Duane Ono and Ted Schade, Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District, Bishop, California

March 27, 2002
Cal EPA Headquarters, 1001 "I" Street, Sacramento, CA



The dried bed of Owens Lake in Inyo County, California is the largest single source of particulate matter (PM) pollution in the United States. The lakebed covers an area approximately 110 square miles and was a natural saline lake with no outlet at the terminus of the Owens River. When the river was diverted to the City of Los Angeles, the lake became virtually dry by 1928. A small permanent brine pool is present at the lowest part of the basin surrounded by exposed dry alkali soils and crusts. Hundreds of thousands of tons of PM10 are lofted from the dry lakebed every year, with daily PM10 concentrations exceeding 10,000 g/m3 at the historic shoreline. The monitor site at the Town of Keeler averaged 19 violations of the federal PM10 standard (150 g/m3) per year from 1987-1995. Dust storms often affect the health and welfare of people living within 50 miles of the lake. In 1993, the U.S. EPA designated the southern Owens Valley as a "serious" PM10 nonattainment area, and a State Implementation Plan (SIP) had to be developed with a control strategy that would bring the area into attainment by December 31, 2006.

The Great Basin Air Pollution Control District (APCD) has been studying air pollution from Owens Lake for over 20 years. Over the last ten years, the District's efforts have focused on developing effective control measures to mitigate the dust, and locating key dust source areas. The extreme hot and cold temperatures, the high salt levels and the blowing sand and dust presented many engineering challenges to the successful large-scale implementation of control measures at Owens Lake. Through extensive research and field testing, supported by funding from the City of Los Angeles, three dust control methods have been found to be effective at Owens Lake: shallow flooding, managed vegetation, and gravel.

In the seminar, Ted Schade, Owens Lake Project Manager, will provide background information on the air pollution problem and discuss the control measures that have been tested at Owens Lake, their environmental impacts, what has been found to work, the control measures that are currently being implemented, and their environmental benefits. Duane Ono, Deputy Air Pollution Control Officer, will discuss the Dust ID Program, the methods used to model the dust storms, and how the District will identify the areas that must be controlled to attain the federal PM10 standard.

Speaker Biography

Duane Ono is the Deputy Air Pollution Control Officer for the Great Basin APCD. Duane has worked for the Great Basin APCD for the last 13 years and for six years before that was the Regional PM10 expert for the U.S. EPA at Region 9 in San Francisco. Duane has two Bachelor of Science degrees from Humboldt State University in Physics, and in Environmental Resources Engineering, and a Master of Science from the University of California at Davis in Mechanical Engineering.

Ted Schade is the Senior Project Manager for the Great Basin Unified APCD. Mr. Schade has worked at Great Basin for the last 12 years. Mr. Schade is a registered professional civil engineer and has a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Notre Dame and a master's degree in civil engineering/water resources from California State University at Long Beach.

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