Instead of looking back when evaluating firing ranges, looking at what presently is happening is a more accurate approach to what tomorrow looks like. Failure to hold firing ranges to strict standards of compliance has served to hurt many communities for having committed this mistake. Learning the hard way, cities now know a crystal ball is not needed to see the present. It has cost these cities, and the taxpayers, millions of dollars, aside from exposing people to the risk of lead poisoning from indoor firing ranges.
A perfect paradigm of the problem recently received public attention.
The James G. Mangan Rifle and Pistol Range closed operations without giving notice. Over a period of nearly a decade, inspection of the facility by local authorities occurred on several occasions. The inspections revealed numerous violations. Many of the violations indicated they accumulated overtime, showing that regulators never enforced or backed up any citation. Despite these violations, some revealing lead readings that exceeded the Department of Public Health’s standards for safety, the apparent lack of a proper cleanup was also clear.
Most poignantly and dangerous came the discovery that the roof of the firing range and the surrounding premises contained lead at alarming levels. The dangerous metal was discovered in the ground of a park, on sidewalks and on nearby homes.
Studies performed after the firing range shuttered, revealed lead contamination approaching toxic levels. It was further discovered that the ventilation system meant to filter out lead dust and reduce contamination had been improperly cleaned.
If this were the only example, it would stir little attention. The Lake Chabot Gun Club is another example, however. Located on the shores of a lake, this firing range operated next to the water supply used by the nearby local community. After shuttering its doors, the estimated cost of lead remediation rose to nearly 20 million – the brunt of the cost belonged to the city. Many of the problems plaguing the Mangan firing range, also affected the Chabot Gun Club.
It seems there is a playbook for firing ranges readily available to cities and state authorities.
Again, the issue of lead accumulation growing to dangerous levels without government intervention comes to the fore. At some facilities, exposure to lead contamination over years has proven dangerous to employees who risk organ failure. So, not properly cleaning is clearly a major consideration. But of equal import is the failure of city, state and federal authorities to back up their regulations. With such dire consequences, this is a ‘no-brainer’.
The potential cost to cities and citizens, the real and dangerous health threat should make this a glaring concern for authorities. To not take the proper steps to protect citizens is negligent. To know that the examples above are not just confined to a few firing ranges, or just one or two states, eliminates ignorance as an excuse by those responsible for upholding the laws and regulations.
Over the past decade, MT2 has recycled over 10 MILLION tons of lead, returning over $4 Million dollars to ranges owners without a single regulatory violation, while working closely with range owners to implement firing range Best Management Practices (BMPs).
MT2’s proven record of firing range services include: complete range maintenance & improvements, lead remediation services, lead reclamation, OSHA & environmental consulting, operational maintenance and range closure. MT2’s zero-tolerance for regulatory violations gives range owners the peace of mind that their project will be successfully completed on a guaranteed schedule.
No one can complete a firing range lead reclamation project quicker and safer than MT2.