Study reveals soil contamination at Bountiful gun club

Nov 10 2011 - 7:24am

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BOUNTIFUL -- Soil at the Bountiful Lions Club firing range is contaminated, and remediation efforts could cost $1.6 million to $2.8 million, an engineering study reveals.

Soil at the gun club is contaminated with higher-than-acceptable levels of lead and arsenic, and shows traces of cadmium, copper and zinc, along with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) associated with clay pigeons, according to a study done by AMEC Earth & Infrastructure Inc.

The club is on the city's east side at 1350 N. Skyline Drive, near the B on the mountain.

The study was initiated by the city council as part of an ongoing effort to potentially complete a land swap between the city and the U.S. Forest Service.

The gun range's property is owned by the U.S. Forest Service, which has given the Lion's Club a year-to-year permit to operate the gun facility on 220 acres.

The city owns approximately 1,680 acres, an area that has been called "environmentally significant" on the mountainside, east of the city, and has been in discussions about a potential land swap with the Forest Service for almost 20 years.

Potential costs of cleaning up the gun range to bring it up to residential standards are a key component in getting a proper cost analysis of the properties involved in the exchange, said City Engineer Paul Rowland.

The study results will help city officials put a value on the gun club land as part of any land transaction.

Mayor Joe Johnson said the study gives local leaders a look at options and should help as they decide whether to move forward with the land deal.

Councilman Fred Moss said the study gives local officials an idea of the value of the gun club property and should be helpful in any land discussion.

"At least we have a report and study; if we take (the land), that will tell us how much it would cost to clean up," Moss said.

Last fall, city leaders approved spending $67,000 for the study.

Rowland described the process as thorough. "There was some pretty significant testing and review done."

Engineers took soil samples from the club's trap range, the rifle range and the pistol range. They conducted sampling at 1-foot depths in the soil and then went another 2 feet for additional data.

Rowland said most of the contaminants were found in the first foot of soil. He also said tests done near a creek channel that flows through the range have not shown any traces of the contaminants farther downstream.

As part of the study, engineers outlined five options in dealing with the land, starting with doing nothing to doing a complete excavation and off-site disposal of treated soil using physical and liquid gravity separation and stabilization.

The most extreme option would cost approximately $2,852,000, according to the study.

The study recommended that local officials consider Option Four if they move forward. That would include excavation of the contaminated soil and off-site disposal of the soil using physical and pneumatic gravity separation and stabilization.

Rowland said the soil could be stored in one portion of the city-owned landfill, for the most part, with only part of the soil having to be shipped elsewhere. That option has a projected price tag of $1,827,600.

City Manager Tom Hardy has said the land swap would help preserve a popular public facility while allowing the Forest Service to consolidate its land holdings up toward the Skyline Drive area, along the city's East Bench.

Hardy estimates up to 50,000 people use the gun club yearly.

The land the city would lose in the trade is property that was deeded to Bountiful. Much of it runs up the mountains to the far eastern edge of the city, Rowland said.

Johnson has described the land the city would lose in the swap as land the city can't use.

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