Grand Island Shooting Park Monitors Lead Levels, Has Plans for Removal

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Grand Island city officials say they're aware of the hazards leftover lead at the Heartland Public Shooting Park can pose, and they have a plan for dealing with it.

Recently the City of Beatrice chose to hire engineers to see if bullets fired at a shooting range there are threatening to contaminate water in the area.

Grand Island is home to one of the largest shooting parks in the region, but Parks and Recreation Superintendent Todd McCoy says spent bullets have never been cleaned up at the Heartland Public Shooting Park since it opened nearly a decade ago.

He says that's because clean up is based on volume, and it can take anywhere from 10-50 years for enough lead to accumulate to warrant action.

"What we'll do is we'll have a company that will come in and they'll scoop it up basically and sift through the soil and get the lead out," says McCoy. "There's actually a value to the lead to re-harvest it and sell it back."

McCoy says the HPSP is set up so that a ballistic sand backstop catches fired rifle and pistol bullets, and a field collects shotgun pellets on that range.

He says they evaluate the situation every couple of years.

"Definitely it's something that we think about and something that we plan for is to clean up the lead," says McCoy. "The Heartland Public Shooting Park was designed so that we can come back and easily clean up the lead."

Lead was cleaned out of the area before the park was built because that land was part of the Army ammunition plant.