Incident Date
1 May 2016
Locations Affected
North east

Key Messages

Wangaratta Clay Target Club (WCTC) operates next to the North Wangaratta Recreation Reserve, in Detour Rd North Wangaratta.

EPA received reports of lead shot at the North Wangaratta Recreation Reserve in April 2016. EPA’s investigation found shot from the nearby Wangaratta Clay Target Shooting Club in the Recreation Reserve.

Target shooting at ranges can cause contamination, which can come from:

  • lead which makes up the largest part of most types of ammunition (bullets and shot)
  • polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) found in clay targets used at shooting ranges. PAHs are a part of a group of chemicals, some of which can be toxic to humans.

Contamination from shooting ranges can cause concern because:

  • exposure to lead can harm people’s health
  • it can spread and contaminate nearby land and waterways
  • grazing livestock can ingest contaminants such as lead
  • it can harm the local environment and animals.

EPA issued notices to WCTC, which required them to:

  • establish the extent of the contamination
  • prevent groundwater and land contamination from occurring.

Cleanup at the Wangaratta Clay Target Club

The Rural City of Wangaratta Council closed the reserve after receiving test results. The results showed that lead levels, on the site’s eastern boundary, were above health limits for public open space. The council has removed contaminated soil from the oval and managed the reconstruction of the oval on behalf of the WCTC. The recreation reserve is now open for use again.

The WCTC is storing the contaminated soil on their site. They are also working on a risk mitigation plan for their site. An environmental auditor is overseeing the plan and the club has submitted it to EPA for approval. The plan covers how the club can safely manage the contaminated soil in a cost-effective way.

Staying informed about public health and contamination from Wangaratta Clay Target Club

General advice from the Department of Health recommends not to use groundwater for drinking as it may be contaminated.

You should test the groundwater to make sure that it is suitable even if you plan to use it for:

  • stock watering
  • irrigation.

Based on the experience of regulating this site, EPA has developed a Guide for managing contamination at shooting ranges (publication 1710). The guide is for outdoor shooting ranges to help prevent and manage contamination.

For information about environmental or health risks, contact EPA:

Reviewed 12 April 2024