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County supervisors vote to monitor air quality during Devil’s Gate dig

With the county’s Devil’s Gate Dam Sediment Removal project slated to begin in May, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to fund an air quality monitoring program that could set the standard for future projects.

Supervisor Kathyrn Barger — who represents the 5th District, including La Cañada Flintridge and Pasadena — proposed the Public Works Department use Flood Control District dollars to fund a contract with a consultant to help install and read air quality monitoring devices at the project site.

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In Tuesday’s meeting, Barger said she met with residents and city and school officials from La Cañada and Pasadena, who shared their concerns about diesel emissions during the four-year project.

“We have an obligation to do appropriate air quality monitoring,” the supervisor said. “It’s the right thing to do for our surrounding communities.”

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The consultant would partner with the California Air Resources Board and the South Coast Air Quality Management District to evaluate and interpret data collected by the devices and then communicate findings to the public.

Child Educational Center Director Elyssa Nelson said attendees as young as 2 months old attend her school on Foothill Boulevard near Oak Grove Drive, where outdoor naps and play periods are frequent.

“Air quality monitoring during the project will give us the information we need to make decisions that are best for our kids,” Nelson said.

Supervisors voted unanimously in favor of the proposal. Barger said she hoped the sediment removal project would become a model for future projects.

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