Review of Oceano Dunes dust control coming

The county Air Pollution Control District will outline its plans Wednesday for reducing unhealthy levels of particulate pollution on the Nipomo Mesa.

A public workshop will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Ramona Garden Park Center, 993 Ramona Ave., Grover Beach.

Air district officials will discuss the results of a recently completed pilot program in which three different methods for reducing dust emissions from Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area were tested.

These results will form the basis of a fugitive dust rule that will formalize the steps the State Parks Department and others must take to minimize windblown dust. The air district board of directors will consider adopting the rules later this year.

Efforts the air district is taking to give daily air quality forecasts to schools and communities on the Nipomo Mesa will also be discussed, as well as the forecast methodology.

The district will post the final report on the pilot program study as well as the draft of the fugitive dust rule on its website, www.slocleanair.org, before Wednesday. The air district board of directors will also discuss these issues when it meets Sept. 28 in San Luis Obispo.

The problem of high particulate levels on the Nipomo Mesa has been the subject of intense controversy. A scientific study released earlier this year by the air district found that off-highway vehicle riding on the Oceano Dunes exacerbates the dust problems.

Nipomo Mesa residents complain of respiratory problems and other illnesses because of the dust. The State Parks Department, which operates Oceano Dunes, has agreed to work with the air district and the county on dust control but disputes the conclusion that vehicle riding in the Dunes is responsible.