State Debris Removal Officials Report Very Low or Non-Detectible Amounts of Dust, Other Inhalable Pollutants Observed during Woolsey, Hill Fire Cleanup Effort

Nearly seven weeks have passed since state contractors began removing burned metal, concrete, ash and other debris from properties in Los Angeles and Ventura counties affected by the Woolsey and Hill fires.

In those nearly seven weeks, air monitors strategically located on 20 percent of the remediation sites in Los Angeles and Ventura counties have observed no levels of inhalable dust or other inhalable particulates above their Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs), officials at the Debris Removal Operations Center (DROC) in Calabasas reported today.

According to DROC officials, visual observations by crews in the field are consistent with the findings of the air monitors. In addition to the remediation sites, debris removal officials are closely monitoring air quality near sensitive sites such as schools, recreational areas and day care centers.

The air monitors and on-site observations by crews are just two of the measures put in place as part of the state’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program to limit the impact of operations on air quality in the affected counties.   Crews wet down the ash, soil, concrete and burned metal prior to and regularly during removal to reduce or limit any airborne particulates.

If monitors detect levels of inhalable dust or pollutants near sites where crews are working, state contractors will ask the site supervisor to identify the sources of the dust and apply additional water.

Because air-monitoring equipment used by state contractors is located throughout the burn area, they may detect inhalable dust and other particulates generated by debris removal operations on properties whose owners have not opted into the state program. Since state contractors cannot legally enter properties that are not participating in the Consolidated Debris Removal program, DROC officials will contact the appropriate county agency to mitigate airborne dust and particulates generated from those properties.

Residents of the affected areas in Los Angeles with concerns about air quality can contact the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) at 1-800-288-7664.   Residents of Ventura County with similar concerns can contact the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District at 805-645-1400.

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