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DOT&PF Works to Reduce Village Dust

(JUNEAU, Alaska) - For rural communities dust is not just a nuisance, it is a hazard that can threaten respiratory health.

People most affected by dust are those least able to protect themselves-children, senior citizens and residents with existing heart and lung ailments.

With technology and innovation come possible solutions for decreasing dust in rural villages. Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) maintenance engineer Clark Milne will join a panel of Alaskan speakers to discuss dust suppression solutions at the 15th Annual Alaska Tribal Conference on Environmental Management (ATCEM). The panel will speak from 8:30 to 11:45 a.m., Friday, Nov. 20 at the Hilton Hotel in Anchorage.

During the 2009 legislative session, DOT&PF received a $650,000 grant to work with residents to mitigate dust in eight villages identified by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as out of compliance with dust regulations. These villages are Ambler, Bethel, Buckland, Kiana, Kotzebue, Noatak, Noorvik, and St. Mary's.

"We can develop custom solutions for each village and their unique circumstances," Milne said. "I want solutions that will have long-term results."

Friday's roundtable session will include discussion about dust control methods, including lowering speed limits in residential areas; water and dust suppressants; rerouting traffic and paving strategic locations.

The ATCEM is an annual conference that provides an opportunity for tribal organizations to explore solutions to environmental challenges in rural Alaska communities. A secondary goal of ATCEM is for tribal members to meet and build relationships with state and federal environmental agencies.

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