A cleanup is taking place in Washington state after 2 acres of soil in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest were found to be contaminated with lead. The source of this contamination is what was formerly a trap shooting range. According to The Spokesman-Review, the cleanup of these 2 acres is estimated to cost $780,000. This is the cost of digging up the soil of just 2 out of 7 acres of the Index Sportsman Club shooting range.
A similar situation in Wisconsin’s La Crosse River Marsh, the location of a former trap shooting range between 1929 and 1963, is causing another very serious, and very expensive issue. As published by the La Crosse Tribune: National Forest were found to be contaminated by lead.
“According to the study, which was first presented to the board in February 2015, the west soils on the west side had surface lead levels as high as 26,700 milligrams per kilogram, qualifying the area as contaminated. However, the study concluded a cleanup would cause more harm than good.”
The areas contaminated were found to span 25 acres, which when compared to the 2 acre contamination in Washington state, raises the question: how much could a contamination of this size cost?
Rather than attempt to launch a cleanup of the contaminated areas, due to the aforementioned study conducted by the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, the city plans to use native plants to replace invasive ones in an effort to attract birds and restore the previous native habitat.
Firing ranges are still very much in operation throughout the United States, however, unlike the examples provided above, we now have the option to put in place a health and safety plan, or HASP, as well as best management practices as issued by the EPA.
Is your HASP up to OSHA’s standards?
OSHA (Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration), imposes legal standards on practices that involve lead, a toxic substance. Here is a list of these standards, provided by MT2:
- Employees exposed to lead wear contamination protective clothing.
- That the protective clothing be removed and isolated after the shift.
- Shower facilities for employees have to be provided.
- Employees must be required to thoroughly wash their hands and faces before eating and drinking.
- All surfaces must be maintained free of lead accumulations.
- Employees must be fully educated about the effects of lead poisoning and the methods of prevention.
- Respirators have to be provided and fit-tested for employees.
- Protective clothing has to be maintained and replaced as needed.
- Employees must be tested for lead poisoning regularly and be provided with written medical information about blood lead levels.
OSHA has certainly issued fines in the past, for more information read this article about a citation at Illinois Gun Works.