Owens Lake Scientific Advisory Panel

The Owens Lake Scientific Advisory Panel (OLSAP) provides advice on the reduction of airborne dust in the Owens Valley in California. The panel reviews scientific and technical issues related to the research, development, and implementation of waterless and low-water use of best available control measures and other approaches to reduce dust in the Owens Valley in California. OLSAP’s first task is to evaluate the effectiveness of alternative dust control methods for their degree of particulate matter reduction at the Owens Lake bed and to reduce use of water in controlling dust emissions from the dried lake bed.

Purpose

OSLAP was established in response to a request from the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District (GBUAPCD) in California and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to evaluate, assess, and provide ongoing advice on the reduction of airborne dust in the Owens Valley in California. The request to establish OLSAP is pursuant to a Stipulated Judgment that LADWP and GBUAPCD entered into in 2014. The National Academies will establish, staff, and administer OLSAP according to institutional policies and procedures.

As indicated in the 2014 Stipulated Judgment, OLSAP’s first task is evaluate the effectiveness of alternative dust control methodologies for their degree of PM10 reduction at the Owens Lake bed and to reduce use of water in controlling dust emissions from the dried lake beds. (PM10 refers to airborne particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of 10 micrometers or smaller.) The evaluation should consider associated energy, environmental and economic impacts, and assess the durability and reliability of such control methods.

Publications

During the 20th century, the city of Los Angeles diverted surface water flowing into Owens Lake for water supply, transforming the large, closed-basin, saline lake into a small brine pool surrounded by dry playa. Under high winds, the exposed lakebed produced large amounts of airborne dust, resulting in the highest concentrations of airborne particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of 10 micrometers or less (PM10) in the United States. Since 2000, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, at the direction of the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District, has been constructing and implementing dust control measures on the dry lakebed, with the objective of meeting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency National Ambient Air Quality Standards for PM10 and the PM10 standards set by the state of California.

Report Highlights

Effectiveness and Impacts of Dust Control Measure for Owens Lake
February 2020

Press Release

New, Innovative Approaches to Dust Control Needed at Owens Lake, Report Says 
February 26, 2020

DUST MITIGATION

TRAILS & PLAZA

WILDLIFE

SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY PANEL