Nipomo Mesa pollution study slated for release in February

County air pollution control officials say a much-anticipated study linking the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area to high particulate pollution on the Nipomo Mesa will be released to the public in early February.

A public workshop to discuss the results will be scheduled soon after the report’s release. The board of directors of the County Air Pollution Control District will discuss the findings at a meeting on March 24.

The report was originally scheduled to be released before Christmas, but it was postponed to give staff more time to finalize it and six air pollution scientists time for a peer review. “Significant delays” in sample analysis from Lawrence Livermore Laboratory were also cited as a reason for postponing the report’s release.

“This is not a matter that can be rushed,” said Larry Allen, air pollution control officer. “Given the magnitude of the data collected, the complexity of the analyses performed and the importance of the finding, it is imperative that a comprehensive review of the data and study findings is completed prior to publishing the report.”

Using 2 million data points collected over several years, the report studied whether all-terrain vehicle riding in the Oceano Dunes park is exacerbating unhealthy levels of dust pollution on the Nipomo Mesa, the part of the county with the worst particulate pollution.

At the air board’s last meeting, Allen confirmed the link between the park and the dust pollution but did not discuss the details of the report pending its release.

At its March meeting, the air board is expected to begin discussing possible ways to mitigate the dust pollution to protect the health of Nipomo Mesa residents.