The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to monitor air quality around the Devil’s Gate reservoir restoration project.
Supervisor Kathryn Barger said the move was prompted by residents’ concerns.
“Public safety and health continues to be our top priority, and I appreciate the input of our community and concerned parents who have been instrumental in the development of this important air quality monitoring strategy,” she said.
The board directed the Department of Public Works to hire a consultant to put monitoring devices in place and work with the California Air Resources Board and South Coast Air Quality Management District to interpret the data, which will be made public.
County staffers have been working with La Canada Flintridge Parents for Healthy Air, a group formed in 2018 to address concerns raised by families with children in nearby schools.
The Devil’s Gate project, approved in 2017 and expected to take four years to complete, involves moving up to 1.7 million cubic yards of sediment to maintain the integrity of the 100-year-old dam and protect against catastrophic flooding in downstream communities. The work will also create 70 acres of wildlife habitat.
Hundreds of daily truck trips will be required to move the dirt and residents are concerned about diesel particulates in the air along routes near schools.
The site is located along the Foothill (210) Freeway and new access roads have been built to keep trucks away from residential areas where possible. Routes will vary between Pasadena and La Canada Flintridge and will run from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays, according to a county presentation created for residents.
One La Canada parent on the task force said she supports the reservoir clean-out but is worried that the trucks won’t follow the plan put in place to mitigate neighborhood pollution.
“The truck traffic that is slow and idling is also right where the residents and students are,” Elizabeth Krider told the board. “The fears are summarized in many ways. It is more trucks, more carcinogens, we cannot get away from that. And the pollution due to faulty engines is another problem, and the amount of deaths from any large construction project.”
One La Canada High School student said he hoped to see a less aggressive hauling schedule adopted once the results of monitoring were available.
“Given the vicinity of Devil’s Gate to schools … it is crucial that you take this seriously and make adjustments to public health and safety,” Aaron Kornfeld said. “I’m concerned for the safety of my peers and those students at La Canada that participate in outdoor sports that have no choice to breathe this in.”
Hauling is expected to begin within weeks.