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Published January 09, 2013, 09:06 PM

Concerns of lead poisoning shuts down Valley City shooting range

Valley City, ND (WDAY TV) - An indoor shooting range in Valley City, previously open to the public, sits empty this winter.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Valley City, ND (WDAY TV) - An indoor shooting range in Valley City, previously open to the public, sits empty this winter.

High amounts of lead prompted the city to shut down the range in the basement of the law enforcement center.

Leon Pytlik was preparing for another winter season with the Valley City Rifle and Pistol Club, set to start this month.

But in December, he found out their usual shooting range, in the basement of the law enforcement center, was shut down.

Leon Pytlik, VC Rifle & Pistol Club: "It was disappointing to us, but I understand where he's coming from."

New Police Chief Fred Thompson asked the Department of Interior Air Quality to make an inspection.

Fred Thompson, Police Chief: "I had some concerns about the possibility of it not being up to current standards."

What they found was too much lead, leftover from firearms.

Thompson: "Whether it's hitting the range back stop in the back or the actual act of the bullet coming out it's going to shed a bit of lead there."

The shooting range has been in use since the 1930s, but there doesn't seem to be any set plan for cleanup.

David Schelkoph, City Administrator: "No real records were kept, no real schedule that I know, any kind of documentation was kept in the cleanup."

Pytlik: "We always had a hose hooked up, and then we'd go and we'd spray down the bullet trap part of the range."

It's empty now, but if there were people in here practicing with firearms, the lead in the room would be kicked up into the air. Without proper ventilation, dangerous amounts could be inhaled.

The city is now making plans to hire an EPA certified lead removal crew. After that they will decide whether to make changes and re-open the range.

Lead poisoning affects nearly every part of the body, including the central nervous system, kidneys, and blood.

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