Emission Monitoring Planned for ‘Big Dig’ Trucks

The monitoring of tailpipe emissions from sediment-hauling trucks at Devil’s Gate Dam is set to arrive in the near future, authorities said recently.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said in an Aug. 16 news release that she plans to implement the monitoring of the trucks in the wake of discussions between the county and California Air Resources Board.
“In launching Phase II of our air quality strategy, I ordered this additional high level of truck emissions monitoring as an extra level of prevention to ensure trucks hauling sediment from the construction site are in full compliance with the project’s stringent standards,” Barger said. “Vital emissions data will be collected and necessary corrective actions will be taken. I want to ensure that community concerns are fully addressed and that every possible safeguard is in place to protect public safety and the environment.”
Officials have said the county-supervised project, whose first phase began in late November, is expected to include up to 425 daily round trips by as many as 95 diesel trucks. The haul trucks are expected to meet model year 2010 emission standards as well as other requirements, officials said.
Also known as the Big Dig, the project, which supervisors approved in November 2017, is aimed at removing 1.7 million cubic yards of sediment behind the dam at Hahamongna Watershed Park to increase flood protection and restore habitat within the Arroyo Seco Watershed. Sediment removal began on May 21.
Barger’s statement does not indicate when monitoring equipment will be installed.
La Cañada Unified School District Superintendent Wendy Sinnette said she believes the efforts of Elizabeth Krider of LCF 4 Healthy Air, a group that includes local residents and strives to reduce safety and health hazards to the community affected by the Big Dig, deserved the credit.
“That’s been one of her primary initiatives,” Sinnette said. “That was wonderful. I sent a quick note of thanks to Supervisor Barger for making that decision and a little email to [Krider] saying good job. That’s a really good decision. It’s something [Krider] worked really hard on with her parent volunteer colleagues.”
The LCUSD has voiced concerns about the project’s impact on air quality. La Cañada High School is not far from the site of the sediment removal project.
Tony Bell, a spokesman for Barger, said the supervisor’s office has been working very closely with the community since the beginning of the issue.
“Public safety and environmental concerns are a top priority,” Bell said. Monitoring of tailpipe emissions will indicate “if any adjustments need to be made and ensure the full compliance with the standards of the project. The bottom line is, we want to have every possible safeguard in place on this project.”
A county Department of Public Works spokesman told The Outlook on Aug. 13 that a wheel wash, used to remove dirt from the haul trucks’ tires and undercarriages before the vehicles exit the project site, would be installed there within two weeks.
Project manager Steve Burger said on Wednesday by email that county officials have arranged for a meeting this week to discuss details of testing protocols and a schedule for the Phase II testing program. The meeting will include community stakeholders, the Air Resources Board and the UC Riverside Center for Environmental Research and Technology, Burger said.
He said that Phase I testing by the county includes inspections to confirm low-emission trucks on the project are operating as specified.
Phase II testing will enhance protocols, utilizing sophisticated diagnostic equipment attached to sample trucks to test engine systems and take direct measurement of each truck’s exhaust emissions as they drive, he said. Additionally, the measurement of exhaust would validate the effectiveness of the emissions control equipment, he said.

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