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Burlington County Shooting Range Adopts EPA’s Best Management Practices for Lead Shot; First County in State

Release Date: 06/03/2003
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(#03062) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny announced today that the Burlington County Shooting Range for law enforcement personnel in Pemberton Township has formally adopted EPA-recommended best management practices for lead at outdoor ranges. The Agency developed the practices in conjunction with the shooting range industry, which played an important role in identifying the potential risks posed by lead at ranges and how best to prevent them. Shooting ranges in the U.S. deposit more than 160 million pounds of lead into the environment annually.

Burlington County volunteered to reduce the amount of lead from lead shot and bullets that enter the environment using a plan it submitted to EPA for approval earlier this year. About 2500 law enforcement personnel train at the range every year, and shoot an average of 650,000 rounds. Elements of the plan already in place include: upgrading and resurfacing the target backstop, neutralizing areas that showed high acidity in soil with lime, and record keeping to assist in timely lead shot and bullet reclamation sweeps.

“Burlington is the first county in New Jersey to get EPA approval of an environmental stewardship plan for its gun range,” said Jane M. Kenny, EPA Regional Administrator. “By following EPA best management practices, shooting ranges can manage the lead on their properties quite effectively and with less environmental risk.”

With the help of shooting sports organizations and the shooting range industry, EPA Region 2 created the Best Management Practices for Lead at Outdoor Ranges manual to address concerns that accumulated lead from shot and bullets may pose a risk to the environment and human health. Since the manual was published in 2001, shooting ranges nationwide have expressed a strong interest in adopting these practices. The manual has received widespread accolades: a European shooting trade association has published a handbook on the same topic based on EPA’s manual; it holds up EPA’s publication as a “model for other countries.”

EPA’s efforts to promote environmental practices at shooting ranges complement the Agency’s Resource Conservation Challenge, which calls on all Americans to reduce, reuse and recycle goods to decrease the use of new natural resources. EPA’s best management practices for outdoor ranges call for reclaiming lead and recycling it into new shot and bullets. This reduces the amount of virgin lead that must be mined. As EPA’s recommended practices grow in popularity across the nation, the Agency expects to see an increase in lead reclamation and a reduction in the threat lead from ranges poses to the environment.

Best Management Practices for Lead at Outdoor Ranges may be downloaded for free at the EPA Web site or call (212) 637-4145 to have one sent by mail.