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Major lead cleanup at Markham Park.

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by mixer, May 19, 2012.

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  1. mixer

    mixer Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Coral Springs, Florida
    Broward poised to clean up lead contamination at Markham Park gun range


    The County Commission will decide next week whether to pay a company $2.7 million to remove the toxic substance.

    By Tom Lassiter and Dan Christensen


    "After years of delay, Broward officials are finally poised to tackle the hazard posed by hundreds of tons of lead that have been accumulating at the Markham Park Target Range since it opened in the 1980s.

    The gunfire has continued there at a fast and furious pace as the county dithered about what to do. But on May 22, the County Commission will consider proposals from five companies for cleaning up what county officials long have known was a festering, environmental mess posed by lead shot and clay targets in a small lake and an adjacent wooded area.

    County staff reviewed and ranked the proposals in February. If the commission approves, county staff will begin negotiations with the top ranked firm MT2 of Arvada, Colo.

    Clean-up work at the target range, on the edge of the Everglades off State Road 84 in Sunrise, could begin sometime this fall and take several months to complete.

    “We think by doing this project, we will eliminate any [environmental] concerns,” said Dan West, director of Broward County Parks and Recreation since January 2010.

    West said the county has found no evidence lead has moved into the underground water supply or adjacent wetlands, the primary environmental concern.

    “We are routinely conducting tests on the surface water and the adjacent canals and there has been no evidence that the lead is migrating off site,” he said.

    In 2009, however, two independent experts told The Miami Herald that monitoring at the site was inadequate to accurately assess whether lead was leaching into groundwater.

    Dr. Christopher Teaf, project director for the Center for Biomedical and Toxicological Research at Florida State University, said then that there was “plenty of evidence” that lead had migrated off-site at Markham Park. On Wednesday, he said he’s seen nothing since to change his opinion.

    High concentrations of lead can cause brain and nerve damage in humans. Fish and birds can be similarly poisoned. At least two former workers at the target range have blamed health problems on years of lead exposure.

    County officials have been talking about a clean up for more than two decades. In 1991, the Sun-Sentinel reported that a county study had found lead contamination at the range, which was then attracting 60,000 target shooters a year.

    In 1998, another county study found that the bottom of six-acre Shotgun Lake had a 350-ton layer of splintered clay targets five feet thick.

    Limited clean up has been done at the rifle range, where spent slugs are removed and recycled from an earthen backstop every five to eight years. The county also installed a liner to prevent lead from polluting storm runoff.

    In 2004, Florida lawmakers exempted gun range operators from local oversight in response to concerns that the high cost of clean ups could interfere with gun rights. Instead, ranges were supposed to follow “environmental stewardship guidelines.”

    The guidelines, issued by the state Department of Environmental Protection, emphasized, “The one thing you can do immediately is to stop firing over and into surface water or wetlands.”

    But that didn’t happen at Markham Park.

    In 2009, officials talked about taking action, but the idea died in a severe budget squeeze.

    Last June, with Commissioner Kristin Jacobs absent, the commission voted 8-0 to seek cleanup proposals.

    MT2’s plan came in at $2.7 million, West said. But that figure will be reduced by a credit to the county based on how much the company gets recycling and selling the lead. That could amount to $700,000 to $750,000, according to the company’s proposal.

    The project calls for the removal of lead and clay target fragments from the Shotgun Lake and from five acres of wooded area directly north of the skeet and trap range.

    MT2’s proposal disturbingly indicates that it expects to find hazardous levels of “leachable lead” in both lake sediment and “shot fall zone soils” that could impact surface and groundwater.

    The work can be scheduled to assure shooters have access to the range at least eight hours a day and on weekends for most of the project, according to the firm’s proposal.

    In the first phase, MT2 will remove all the vegetation and excavate and process the surface soil to remove lead from the soil down six inches or a foot depending on conditions.

    The firm will then drain and excavate the lake, process sediment to remove lead, and fill the hole with new soil. During that phase, shooting might be restricted to weekends only for a period of one to two weeks, according to the proposed plan.

    The entire project area will then be graded and covered with sod.

    To entice commissioners to choose them, the firm also offered to assess additional areas impacted by lead shot that are outside of the immediate project area and to help the county develop an Environmental Stewardship Plan for the range."
  2. Fast Oil

    Fast Oil TS Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Eric, not a mention of the fact that the county has been collecting a daily environmental clean up fee from shooters for over 15+ years!

    I remember our first meeting on the lead issue with the county when the EI fee was proposed. The lake area that was used by waterski boats showed a higher concentration of lead from the exhaust then in the lake in front of the trap/skeet fields. At that time the estimate to clean up was about $3/4 million and they did not know that the lead was recycled for a rebate back on the project.

    Does this include the Sporting clays area?

    I'll look to see if I still have any of the paper on these meeting.

    Hope it goes well.

  3. mixer

    mixer Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Coral Springs, Florida

    Being that this is a County project, the old "I'll believe it when I see it" rule applies. Check back in Jan 2013 for an update.

    Best, Eric
  4. Rebel Sympathy

    Rebel Sympathy Well-Known Member

    Jun 6, 2010
    Pea Patch, Alabama
    Ultimately, "lead contamination" is going to be the tool the liberals use to ban guns and shooting. Certainly, there is something to lead contamination in some situations. However, it has been greatly exaggerated as to the damage it can cause on "dry-land" situations.

    Wetlands - yes, I can accept that. Drylands - well......

  5. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

    Jan 29, 1998
    Prairie State
    While I wish you all the best... I would not be surprised if Markham goes the route of Skyway and Us... steel shot.
  6. scratcher

    scratcher TS Member

    Dec 23, 2005
    MT2 stuck it up Broward County's backside long, wide, and deep. There was more than enough salvageable lead shot there to pay all extraneous costs for the county, clean up the environment, and make a reasonable profit for the reclaimer. Broward county would not have needed to write a check; but they will....But that's what bureaucrat's and politicians only know how to do....

    Dick Gries
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