The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is working with the Butte County Air Quality Management District (AQMD) to protect workers and nearby residents during the debris-removal operation at the base of the Oroville Dam flood control spillway.
During recent air quality and sediment testing, natural-occurring asbestos was discovered in limited areas near the construction zone. Natural-occurring asbestos (NOA) is a common feature of California geology. DWR has safely and successfully worked with NOA using standard operating procedures.
While air monitoring and mineral sampling indicate that the risk to workers and the surrounding community is minimal, out of an abundance of caution, DWR has submitted a dust-control plan to the AQMD and is monitoring air quality at the work site and in nearby neighborhoods.
From the outset, crews removing debris have used dust control measures, including wetting soil with water trucks and using wet drilling methods to minimize dust, and employing rumble strips on roads to reduce dirt collecting on heavy equipment. Additional measures may include washing of trucks and tires, implementing the use of personal air monitors in key areas, and increased air sampling.
DWR will continue to coordinate with local air quality officials, geologist, and safety officers to monitor and mitigate any air quality risks as work proceeds.