Activities at shooting ranges can cause pollution and create waste that can contaminate the environment and impact human health.

Use the Guide for managing contamination at shooting ranges (publication 1710) to learn how to manage the risks to human health and the environment from your activities. It provides examples of controls and good practices you can put in place.

Why eliminating or reducing risk is important

Shooting range activities that aren’t appropriately managed can: 

  • impact human health through exposure to lead, either directly or through the food chain  
  • contaminate land making it unsuitable for use 
  • impact the local environment and animals, especially foraging animals and aquatic animals, if water is contaminated. 

Eliminating or reducing the risks of harm your activities pose in a structured way will help you: 

Shooting ranges that don’t effectively eliminate or reduce their environmental risks may face: 

  • cleanup costs 
  • lost work time 
  • legal fees 
  • fines 
  • criminal charges.  

How to manage risks from shooting ranges

The Guide for managing contamination at shooting ranges (publication 1710) is for owners or operators of outdoor shooting ranges. It’s also relevant for those planning to develop a new shooting range.

EPA developed this guide with the Victorian sports shooting community. It helps build industry state of knowledge.

The guide’s purpose is to help you learn how you can manage the risks to human health and the environment from shooting range activities.

It provides examples of controls you can put in place. It can also help you decide what things you can do to manage your hazards and risks, for example:  

  • alternative ammunition and clay targets 
  • bullet traps 
  • controlling access 
  • environmental management plans 
  • lead recovery  
  • shot barriers 
  • stop butt design 
  • shotgun range design 
  • vegetation management  
  • water management.  

EPA has developed Planning guidance: Managing the risk of contamination at shooting ranges (publication 1755). It provides information for land use planners on the potential land contamination risks associated with shooting ranges, and how these risks may be appropriately considered when:  

  • assessing applications for proposed new ranges  
  • considering land use changes to operating or former ranges. 

Those planning new shooting ranges will need to seek further advice on planning regulations. 

Read next 

How to manage your environmental risk 

New laws and your business 

Assessing and controlling risk: A guide for business (publication 1695) 

About contamination from shooting ranges

About land and groundwater 

Land and groundwater guidance for business 

Reviewed 23 September 2020