Owens Lake Dust Mitigation Program, Phase 7a
AWARD OF MERIT
Owner Los Angeles Dept. of Water & Power
Lead Designer CDM Smith
Contractor Barnard Construction Co.
Civil & Structural Engineer CDM Smith
Landscape Architect Nuvis Landscape Architecture & Planning
Subcontractors Santa Fe Springs Winwater Co.; CR Frederick; Western Water Constructors Inc.; Natures Image; Kleinfelder; G&J Heavy Haul; Walker River Construction; FW Aggregates; Olson Precast
The dust mitigation project aims to rectify issues created by the draining of Owens Lake in the early 20th century, which created the world’s second-largest source of dust pollution—second only to the Sahara Desert. Nearly a half-million worker-hours resulted in no lost-time accidents despite the extreme heat and blowing sand, which is whipped up by more than 40-mile-per-hour winds that threatened workers’ safety and equipment functionality.
Crews often had to take shelter in safe areas to wait out the near-whiteout conditions during dust storms. Even in ideal weather, coordination and communication proved challenging. At peak, 14 crews totaling 200 workers spread out across the 110-sq-mile lakebed, a remote site with extremely limited access. Project management and safety experts met daily to discuss logistics and maintain contact with crews to confirm hourly plans and manage potential changes.