A group of local residents who have been keeping a close watch over the ongoing sediment removal project at the Devil’s Gate Dam reservoir in Pasadena say they are pleased with the job county officials have done to mitigate their concerns over environmental impacts.
The Hahamongna Accountability Project (HAP) organization had raised concerns in recent months that trucks being used to haul out sediment from the reservoir were emitting more emissions than had been originally promised by L.A. County Public Works officials.
A recent study conducted found too many trucks were spending too much time idling on the site, creating significantly more pollution than had been expected. The issue caught the attention of L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who wrote to the agency and urged them to look into the matter and make any necessary changes.
But upon meeting with county officials last month, HAP member Blair Hansen said she is now satisfied that L.A. County Public Works is living up to its promises.
“I met with them for over an hour and a half last week … and they hit it out of the ballpark,” Hansen said. “They brought in a second excavator. Basically they lived up to the promises that they had made to us.”
With two excavators operating, the trucks have been operating within environmental parameters, she said.
“When we had gone in the beginning of the week and done our measurements, we were concerned that that wasn’t happening,” according to Hansen. “It turns out we were checking there on a day that they had problems bringing in a second excavator.”
When we met with them last [month], they were onsite with two excavators. They were doing the same truck counts that we were. They guaranteed us that they’ll continue to provide us data. We don’t have to do the truck counting anymore,” she said.
“And I think they’re really serious about it,” Hansen added.”They’re meeting all of the benchmarks that they set. We’re very happy.”
The project is moving a year ahead of schedule, with sediment removal expected to be completed in November, according to county officials.
Roughly 980,000 cubic yards of sediment, or 69.9% of the total to be removed, has already been cleared away, according to L.A. County Public Works spokesman Steven Frasher.
Truck routes are being altered when nearby schools are in session to minimize impact, he added.
L.A. County Public Works Deputy Director of Construction Management Anthony Nyivih said working with local neighborhoods affected by projects is always a priority.
“We feel it’s very important for us to engage the community and learn about what their concerns are, what they would like to see come out of a project,” he said. “And we like to engage the community as early as possible during the conceptual phase of the project.”
The agency has held “scores” of meetings with community members, L.A. County Public Works Assistant Deputy Director Steve Burger said.
“We were hungry for that information. We took that all very much to heart and it was all about what we can do to modify the project, to make changes to the project for the better so we can still accomplish our goal, but at the same time address any and all of these concerns,” he said.
“As engineers, of course, we took that as a challenge and said, “How can we step up the game? How can we make this an industry leading project in that respect?’” according to Burger.
“And it actually, I think, resulted not only in a better project here, but we’re using this to drive future projects so that we can carry on the good work we’ve done here and carry that into other communities where we do work such as this,” he said.
More information on the Devil’s Gate Reservoir Restoration Project is available online at pw.lacounty.gov/swe/devilsgate