Owens Lake Dust Mitigation Project

Since 1998, Cordoba Corporation has assisted the LADWP in mitigating emissions from the Owens Valley Dry Lake Bed. Recently faced with meeting mandated emissions standards during a time of extreme drought, LADWP and Cordoba Corporation developed and implemented a mitigation strategy that reduced water usage on the dry lakebed by 26,000 acre feet a year.

Since our earliest involvement with the project, Cordoba Corporation has provided an array of services on the Owens Lake project, including environmental monitoring, engineering and planning, dust and air monitoring, safety and compliance, and implementation of demonstration projects.

Owens Valley Dry Lake Bed is on the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s list of Serious Non-Attainment for PM10 emissions.  The Federal Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 mandated that Serious Non-Attainment areas for PM10, including the Owens Valley PM10 Planning Area, attain the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for PM10. With Cordoba’s help LADWP is close to attaining this standard.

Developing innovative solutions to solve our client’s challenges

Over the years, LADWP and Cordoba Corporation have employed several methods of dust mitigation to reach the required air quality standards on the Owens Valley Dry Lake Bed including: shallow flooding, introduction of vegetation, and moat and row. The most effective of these methods has proven to be shallow flooding, which requires the reintroduction of water onto the lakebed.

With California’s current drought conditions, LADWP needed an alternative method of dust control that was as effective, but used less water. Working with the consultant team as well as the client, Cordoba assisted in implementing and testing a low water use mitigation measure called tillage. Cordoba installed and maintained monitoring equipment, conducted surface surveys, soil moisture sampling and erosion monitoring. After a three-year testing period, tillage is now being used on 12 square miles of the lakebed and fully monitored by Cordoba staff. This innovation reduced water usage on the dry lakebed by 26,000 acre feet a year.

Long-term commitment to serving our client’s and the local community

Cordoba Corporation’s staff has been committed to this project and the surrounding community for more than 15 years. Steve Reese, a Senior Construction Manager, is the longest tenured employee on the project and has seen the project evolve significantly.

You are doing something good for the environment and the community.

– Steve Reese, a Senior Construction Manager


When asked about his experience on this important project, Steve remarked, “I really like working on the Owen’s Lake dust mitigation project because it is a noble thing. You are mitigating health impacts that affect thousands of people, so this is in a sense a green job. You are doing something good for the environment and the community.”