source Eric Wilkinson, KING 5 News
For more than 50 years a gun range operated on four acres at the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery. It closed in 1999, leaving behind a toxic mess of lead bullets in the soil.
This week the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife began the cleanup process.
“You wouldn’t want kids playing out there,” said the agency’s Steve Croci.
As the process began, workers realized not only was the land contaminated with lead, but also chemicals from countless clay targets used by the shooters.
“That was a little unfortunate,” said Croci.
Unfortunate is an understatement. The discovery increased the amount of soil that needed to be removed by about three times.
Federal Fish & Wildlife officials remained committed to the $2 million process and vowed to make the land safe again for public use.
The cleanup should be complete by the end of October. Fish and Wildlife officials are hopeful that once the land is deemed 100% safe, they can turn it into a fishing pond for families.