BLM works to prevent lead contamination at shooting range


REDDING, Calif. - Parts of the Iron Mountain Shooting Range west of Redding is closed for the next two weeks as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) works to prevent high levels of lead from running into local water ways.

Charles Wright, a Supervisory Realty Specialist with the BLM, said the project is playing a critical role.

"We're starting our land-use planning process and so I'm sure this will get looked at as part of everything else that we're looking at as far as long term management," said Wright.

The project is in response to a request by the Central Valley Water Quality Control Board after samples showed high levels of the toxic metal in the soil.

"They expressed some concerns about this location and so we looked at it in more detail, did site sampling and came up with the plan for what you're seeing today," said Wright.

The main goal of the project is to prevent lead from running into nearby rivers and streams during heavy rains. Wright said the issue was not caused by recent activity at the shooting range but a cumulative effect of events from several years.

"We also found that lead was not migrating off site to any large degree in the water outside of this area but we wanted to be proactive in taking these measures," said Wright.

Over the next two weeks, crews will move the most contaminated soil towards the center of the range and create drains to keep storm water away. They will also create pools to collect any runoff that does occur.

"As the water goes through the sediment areas it will slow down and the fines (sic) will fall out of the water and collect and that will help to keep the material on site," said Wright.

During the project parts, Wright said parts of the range will be closed off to the public but would fully open again by the Memorial Day weekend.

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