Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has issued the Wangaratta Clay Target Club with two notices that require the extent of lead contamination at the North Wangaratta Recreation Reserve to be understood, and for the club to cease shooting activities until measures are put in place to stop further contamination occurring.
The reserve was recently closed to the community after lead from the Wangaratta Clay Target Club was detected in soil samples at the site’s eastern boundary above the health limits for recreational levels.
EPA North East Manager Clare Kiely said that the club would have to cease shooting until it could ensure that lead from pellets being used were contained on its site and not causing any further contamination.
“The notice means the Wangaratta Clay Target Club will not be able to resume any shooting activities at its site until infrastructure is installed and a management plan is develop that will prevent any lead from leaving the site and entering the reserve area,” Ms Kiely said.
Ms Kiely said the requirement for a full understanding of all lead contamination at the reserve was the next step in returning the reserve to the community.
“Once EPA has the full picture of how much lead is contaminating the reserve and groundwater, it can then provide advice on the most appropriate clean-up methods to ensure all traces of lead can be removed or managed appropriately,” Ms Kiely said.
“Unfortunately access to the sports precinct, including access to buildings, the football oval, outdoor areas and the shooting range will remain restricted by the Rural City of Wangaratta until EPA and Department of Health and Human Services are satisfied that no risk to the environment or the community exists.”
Ms Kiely said EPA’s investigation also involved testing of 16 groundwater bores within a one kilometre radius of the North Wangaratta Recreation Reserve, which found the presence of lead in five samples.
“One of these bores was being used for drinking water purposes, and this household has been advised that water drawn from the bore is not to be used for human consumption,” Ms Kiely said.
“At this stage EPA cannot categorically state where the lead in the groundwater has come from.”
EPA urges members of the public to continue reporting suspected pollution to the EPA on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC) or at www.epa.vic.gov.au
If members of the public have questions about bore water, they should contact the Department of Health and Human Service’s Environmental Health Unit on 1300 761 874 or email firstname.lastname@example.org