Talk:Owens Lake

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 Definition A once large lake in California, now almost entirely dried up and an environmental problem. [d] [e]
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 Workgroup categories Geography and Earth Sciences [Editors asked to check categories]
 Subgroup categories:  Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering and Ecology
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Arithmetic errors

Mary, there is something wrong with your numbers in the "Air pollution" section where you wrote:

  • The lake also emits an estimated 7,200 tons per day PM 10 (particulate matter 10 microns or less) or an estimated 79,2000 tons annually, according to a United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study done between July 2000 through June 2001.

(1) 79,2000 tons annually has an extra zero. According to page 22 of your reference 7, the correct number reported is 79,200 tons annually.

(2) Dividing the 79, 200 tons annually by 365 days in a year means that the average daily PM was 217 tons per day.

(3) Again, according to page 22 of your reference, the peak daily PM was 7,200 tons daily tons .... meaning that was the worst daily amount encountered during the 1-year test period. It was not the average daily amount.

You should revise your above sentence to read:

  • The lake also emits an estimated daily average of 217 tons per day PM 10 (particulate matter 10 microns or less) or an estimated 79, 200 (particulate matter annually, according to a United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study done between July 2000 through June 2001. The peak daily amount of PM 10 emission encountered during the test period was 7,200 tons.

As an aside, the 79,200 tons annually is very much less than the 330,000 tons annually that you reported on the talk page of Smog. Milton Beychok 17:52, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Milt the corrected sentence now states: The lake also emits an estimated 7,200 tons per day PM 10 (particulate matter 10 microns or less) [6]or an estimated 79,200 tons annually, according to a United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study done between July 2000 through June 2001.[7] “Owens Lake is the largest single source of PM-10 in the United States,
I stand by what the source states which is: "Peak Daily PM-10 = 7,200 tons Annual PM-10 = 79,200 tons
Dust ID Period: July 2000 - June 2001." p. 22 Quantifying Particulate Matter Emissions from Wind Blown Dust Using Real Time Sand Flux Measurements, Duane Ono and Scott Weaver, Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District,April 2003, US EPA Emission Inventory Conference,San Diego, California
I made no comments on the talk page about the tonnage of PM 10 or any other air pollution statistics either. The statistics given are from the reports listed as sources in the article. I also provided numerous links that anyone could use to expand the article.
As always I approached the article as if I interviewed experts in the field. As Citizendium is not a paying writing gig, I can not call and interview the people cited in this article. Suffice it to say the article is referenced with recognized authorities.
As this is a wiki, anyone can edit and improve the article I started. I've provided numerous links for anyone to research and write from.
I have inserted the word peak in front of 7,200.
Mary Ash 18:25, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Mary, you again and again argue that, "as this is a wiki", others can improve the article. Indeed, they can. But why do you assume that others have nothing else to do? However, when you create an article on a topic that interests you, you have a certain responsibility for it, and we may expect that you show some persistence, and stay with that article until it is in good enough shape to be left alone. --Peter Schmitt 20:21, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Peter thanks for your comments. I may not have a "real" job to do any more as I am retired, but I do have other commitments too. There is always more to add, as this is a wiki and articles will change, but for now I'm busy cooking, cleaning and gardening. I'm getting ready to plant sugar snap peas, lettuce and some other cool weather crops. I'll add more when I get time but anyone else can add to it too. BTW the article is fairly complete but I am sure more could always be added. :-) Mary Ash 20:31, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

(unindent) Mary, thank you for revising that sentence. I will modify it somewhat to make it clearer that the annual PM 10 of 79,200 tones, when divided by 365 days per year, is equivalent to a daily average of 217 tons per day .... and that the 720 tons per day was a peak value that occurred during the 1-year test period. That is the meaning of "peak value". It may or may not ever occur again in any other testing period. My modification will not remove any numbers, it will simply clarify them for readers.

One other point, now that lake bed has been re-watered to some extent since 2006 (as currently stated in the article), have any new testing studies been made by the EPA or anyone else to determine how much that has decreased the annual emissions?

As I said just above, the 300,000 tons annually that you reported on the talk page of Smog was made by you on 23:44, 28 January 2011 (UTC) as per the history of the Smog talk page in which you explicitly quoted that number. Milton Beychok 20:53, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Milt thank you for your wonderful edits. The page looks so much better! Yes, the math is correct, I did a quick check on the calculator and YOUR math is spot on. Of course I do not have the professional expertise you have, so I would much rather have you make the math changes, and you did. As I wrote earlier, I depend on my sources to provide information and I let the sources "do the talking." I did this as a reporter, and I do it now, but I am glad you helped out. You asked about further tests, I do know that as of 2008 the area was still out of compliance and I am sure more testing is being done. I'll do some more searching at the EPA unless you have some other good ideas. Of course if I had my press card I'd just give those guys a call. Mary Ash 23:46, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
I think it would be very helpful if you asked the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District about any later testing. They would be more likely to know than would the EPA ... and, besides, it is easier to contact them than to contact the EPA. Milton Beychok 00:05, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
Without a press card or badge I probably can not call them. I have done some research and I can not find any updates except what was included in this article. Also, I love the newly formatted references. Excellent editing and thank you!Mary Ash 18:49, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

Updated info

Added updated info found in The Rainshadow document. Mary Ash 19:30, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

An interesting item about the emissions from Owens Lake

Yesterday (February 2, 2011) I sent an email to Mr. Larry Biland of the EPA's Region 9 office in California. I asked him to explain why the EPA's online website page stated the PM10 emissions from the Owens Lake area to be 300,000 tons per year whereas a conference paper published by the EPA at stated the PM10 emissions from the Owens Lake area to be only 79,200 tons per year based on a one-year long testing program from July 2000 to June 2001.

Mr. Biland forwarded my email to Mr. Ted Schade at the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District (the California APCD for the Owens Lake area) and asked him to respond to my email.

Today, I received an email from Mr. Schade which included this statement: "However, we believe there were never 300,000 tons emitted annually from the lake bed. This was a very early (~1986), somewhat unscientific estimate developed by the China Lake Naval Weapons Station."

Mr. Schade's email response also stated: "LADWP (Los Angeles Department of Water and Power) began implementing dust controls in 2000. There are now almost 40 square miles of controls on the lake bed. We estimate emissions have been reduced between 80 and 90 percent from that maximum number.</font.>"

Mr. Schade also stated that the 300,000 tons of emissions in the EPA website page at is incorrect and misleading.

Milton Beychok 20:03, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

The Constabulary has removed a conversation here that either in whole or in part did not meet Citizendium's Professionalism policy. Feel free to remove this template and take up the conversation with a fresh start.

EPA Questions and Answers

I do not want to heat up the dispute, but I have a few comments:

  • Milt, why do you think that it is necessary to involve the Constabulary (so urgently) in order to remove incorrect statements?
  • Independent of its content, the whole section "EPA Questions and Answers" is not suitable for a CZ article because of its style.
  • If the section is a verbatim copy of an external site it contradicts the import regulation.

--Peter Schmitt 00:26, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for your comments, Peter.
  • I was not asking Matt to take any action regarding Mary. I've given up on Matt doing that. I was simply asking Matt to delete her all of her additions made this morning. For the simple reason that I did not want to waste my day getting involved with Mary ... but unfortunately that is what I have done.
  • As you can see, I have now removed them myself and my list of reasons does include the fact that it is a verbatim copy of an external site publication.
Milton Beychok 01:47, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

As an author I am removing some content from this article

As an author, I am removing the section entitled "EPA Questions and Answers" because:

(1) My reasons for doing so have been explained in quite some length in the comments just above.

(2) It is clearly evident that it is an exact, word-for-word copy of material published online by the U.S. EPA at and that might be construed as plagiarism. It is also my understanding that word-for-word copies of extensive content published elsewhere by other authors is informally, if not formally, frowned upon in Citizendium.

(3) Part of that section (see item 9) is no longer correct and has been outdated by better data. Mr. Ted Schade of the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District has now stated in an email he sent me: However, we believe there were never 300,000 tons emitted annually from the lake bed. This was a very early (~1986), somewhat unscientific estimate ... Mr. Ted Shade is the same man that was quoted as the source of the Owens Lake emissions being 290,000 (or 300,000) tons per year in the content that was added this morning by Mary Ash and subsequently removed by her after I informed her that of the email from Ted Shade. That same estimate of 300,000 tons still appears in item 9 of the section I am removing.

(4) A close reading of the word-for-word copy of the U.S. EPA publication makes it quite evident that other items therein are also outdated.

(5) The article is clear enough and devotes enough content to the air pollution problem that has plagued the Owens Valley for decades. The word-for-word copy of the outdated U.S. EPA publication is not needed to make that point.

I have already spent 6 or 7 hours on this subject today. It is my ardent hope that Mary Ash will not revert my removal and cause many of us to spend even more wasted hours on this subject.

Milton Beychok 00:56, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

My only comment is I did not plagiarize. Any works done by federal employees are NOT copyrighted and can be freely used by anyone at anytime verbatim. This also applies for any images, graphics, photos or any other work done by a federal employee. "Works by the U. S. government are not eligible for U. S. copyright protection." Source: Also, I gave appropriate credit for the source the US EPA. I do appreciate the edits you made as you found updated information. That is a good thing as we want articles to be as accurate as possible.Mary Ash 03:56, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
Mary, neither I nor Milt accused you of copyright infringement. We didn't even use the word "plagiarize" that can be used independent of copyright situation. But whether you call it plagiarism or not: You plugged in a verbatim copy taken from another site though
  • (1) a QA section like this does not fit into an encyclopedic article,
  • (2) the content urgently needed adaption and trimming,
  • (3) CZ does not want directly imported content.
In my view, this is not professional (not even in journalistic day-by-day business). --Peter Schmitt 10:16, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
To quote Milt: "(2) It is clearly evident that it is an exact, word-for-word copy of material published online by the U.S. EPA at and that might be construed as plagiarism. It is also my understanding that word-for-word copies of extensive content published elsewhere by other authors is informally, if not formally, frowned upon in Citizendium." Yes, he was dancing with wordsmithing but the word plagarize was bandied about implying I plaigarized material. I did not. If you wish to remove the information because it did not fit CZ style fine, if you wish to remove the material because it is outdated, fine, but as stated previously this was the best information available to me. It was not plaigarized in any form. It also came from a recognized authority the EPA. The EPA is on the federal level and far supersedes other sources. Also, I provided extensive documentation from both the state and local level concerning this information. I'm glad that Milt was able to update the information as that is what collaboration and working together is about. Mary Ash 16:57, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Constable comment

(edit conflict) This was apparently written while the two previous sections were also being written:

Hi All. Now that I have finished my dinner, I can comment on what I see. It appears that we have a content issue here that has the potential to turn sour. I can't tell anyone what to write or what to remove, as that is a content issue, but please keep a professional demeanor while discussing your options. I don't see any reason that Milt can't edit the content that was placed by Mary. Reverting a complete edit is not necessary, just correct what you see as wrong and give your reason here on the talk page. You can remove the offending material to the talk page as well. That is the art of collaboration that we all know and love. There is no reason to comment about any author who adds material anywhere, and we certainly don't need to be adding commentary that has nothing to do with the content at issue. Keep your comments related to the content at question and avoid commenting on the motivation or character of those presenting it. D. Matt Innis 01:01, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Now that I have just finished my dinner, Matt, I very calmly believe that you were wrong to delete part of this page ... but I am not going to pursue that point any further than the next few sentences because my wife is waiting for us to watch a movie. Neither Mary nor I said anything even remotely insulting. I did discuss her constant denial of doing anything wrong and her inability to cease her denials even in the face of the direct, incontestable proof in the emails discussed above. I fear that your concern that no one ever disparage Mary"s constant errors is biasing your otherwise good judgement. I have reached the point that, when I see the words "journalism or journalist" on a Talk page, I physically wince and grind my teeth... and I am sure that is true of many other Citizens as well. As I said before on your Talk page as well as this Talk page, I make no apologies for anything I have written anywhere today. Best regards, Milton Beychok 02:56, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
I make no apologies for not allowing anyone to disparage anyone's alledged errors. I do apologize for assuming you were upset and angry. I am glad that I was wrong and that you and Mary are fine. D. Matt Innis 03:26, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
Dinner and the movie are over. Thank, you Matt. Just one more point. The discussion that you deleted was not about alleged errors ... it was about the incontestable proof that the EPA data added to this article was incorrect and misleading. That can be blamed on the EPA. The error was that our self-proclaimed "journalist" failed to check a number that she had been told some days ago on the Smog talk page (see Talk:Smog/Archive 1 was much too high to believe. Now, I can get back to doing constructive work. Milton Beychok 04:58, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Rationale for adding some additional updating material and some rework to the "Air pollution" section.

I will be adding some additional text, references and two photos in order to update the "Air pollution" section so as to describe the current conditions at Owens Lake.

I will also rework some of the text and the accompanying references in that section so as to present a more cohesive and clearer picture of the very poor conditions that existed in Owens Lake prior to the year 2000, when the current mitigating dust controls were initiated in accordance with the State Implementation Plan submitted to the U.S. EPA in 1999 by the State of California.

I believe the "Air Pollution" section will be improved by the updating and rework. Milton Beychok 19:33, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Owens Lake dust returns

Presumably Owens Lake sand made a visit Tuesday as the area was filled with a white dusty haze. As the wind was blowing predominately from the north, it is very likely the dust was from Owens Lake. To be fair the wind was gusting up to 75 miles per hour during the storm. I stayed inside as it was cold, windy and dusty. Mary Ash 01:23, 3 December 2011 (UTC)

What's missing that makes it not developed?

I think the article is well-written and could be featured on the front page. Do the main authors of this article know what's missing from the article? (Chunbum Park 08:46, 3 December 2011 (UTC))

There's a federal judge update today

ball in your court, Mary Hayford Peirce 03:42, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Thank you! I will read the article tomorrow and try to write something. One quote stuck out though: Today, Owens Lake is the largest single source of particulate matter air pollution in the country. Source: Los Angeles Times. I can't write "I told you so" but I wish I could. Mary Ash 04:15, 3 May 2013 (UTC)