Getting the lead out

Friday, June 13, 2008
Stacey Cothran, left, and Teresa Dugger, of the Friends of Henry Horton State Park, flank Park Manager Randy Whitworth. The group is helping to remove four decades of lead shot from the park shooting range.

Every box of shotgun shells contains about a pound of lead shot, all of which ends up on the ground down-range from where the gun was fired.

Over the years that can add up to a lot of lead.

After 40 years of skeet and trap shooting, the range at Henry Horton State Park is closed for two weeks while lead shot is removed from the shooting area.

"This would not have been possible without the Friends of Henry Horton State Park; their hard work and ability to deal directly with the company made it happen," said Park Manager Randy Whitworth.

The group worked with MT2 Metal Treatment Technologies, a Colorado-based company that is the leading provider of firing range environmental services.

The Friends are a non-profit organization formed in 2006 to support the park by assisting with park programs, activities and the coordination of volunteers in order to protect the park's natural and cultural resources and provide educational and recreational opportunities.

Whitworth explained that MT2 started by sampling to find the major concentrations of lead shot in the area beyond the skeet and trap fields, then had the park spray the land with herbicide to kill the grass.

A grader scraped up the top six to eight inches of dirt, piled it in heaps, and left it to dry. When it was ready, MT2's specialized machinery moved in and started processing the dirt, one front-end loader bucketful at a time. The final product is a big heap of rocks and lumps of clay, a smaller heap of good topsoil, and barrels and barrels of lead shot.

There might be as much as 150 tons of lead that sells for $100 per ton. After MT2's fee is paid, money . . .Pick up a copy of today's edition, Friday, June 13, 2008, for entire story.