Gun range in south Sacramento park leaked toxic lead dust

The city of Sacramento closed its gun range in Mangan Park but did not clean toxic lead dust from the facility or notify nearby residents of the contamination.
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The city of Sacramento closed its gun range in Mangan Park but did not clean toxic lead dust from the facility or notify nearby residents of the contamination.
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The Public Eye

Sacramento assemblyman wants state watchdog to investigate toxic gun range

By Ryan Lillis

rlillis@sacbee.com

April 12, 2016 04:49 PM

Sacramento Assemblyman Kevin McCarty called Tuesday for the state’s toxic waste watchdog to investigate conditions at a city-owned gun range in south Sacramento that was closed in 2014 after tests found high levels of lead dust were leaking outdoors.

McCarty, D-Sacramento, said he is also exploring whether the state Department of Toxic Substances Control can force the city to clean the facility under the Hazardous Waste Control Act. In the meantime, he said he wants the former range cleaned.

“I think it ought to be cleaned up for users of the park and adjacent property owners,” said McCarty, who sits on the Assembly’s Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials.

The range stands in Mangan Park near a picnic area, archery range, swimming pool and playground. Dozens of homes are nearby.

Department of Toxic Substances Control officials believe Sacramento County Environmental Management Division is the lead agency responsible for taking action, according to DTSC spokesman Sandy Nax. But the state agency offered help Tuesday.

“Recognizing the importance of this issue to the surrounding community, we reached out earlier today to Sacramento County offering our assistance,” Nax said Tuesday in an email. “This includes an investigator and a scientist, who can take soil samples, and our lab, which can analyze those samples.”

DTSC received a resident complaint Monday that it referred to the county.

Brenda Bongiorno, spokeswoman for the Sacramento County Environmental Management Division, said Tuesday her department is still reviewing lead tests taken at the Mangan gun range to determine whether to take action. She said the department has the authority “to oversee cleanup of the facility.”

$67,274 Estimated cost to clean gun range and roof of lead in 2014

Sacramento City Manager John Shirey ordered the Mangan gun range closed on Dec. 24, 2014, after tests showed high levels of lead contamination inside the building and on its roof. TRS Range Services, hired by the city, said in a 2012 report that the ventilation system appeared to be sending unfiltered air from inside the building to the outdoors. Tests later showed lead dust on the roof in concentrations above the state Department of Public Health hazard threshold.

Mangan Park residents and park users were not notified of the lead contamination when the facility was closed. City officials ordered tests of the soil in the area immediately surrounding the range on April 1, after The Sacramento Bee raised questions about the contamination. The results of those tests are expected this week.

On Monday, Councilman Jay Schenirer, whose district covers Mangan Park, asked Shirey to order tests of the soil on a broader scale, both in the park and residential yards near the range. Schenirer said he would wait for the city’s test results before deciding whether to call for the range to be cleaned.

“I want to get as much information as I can,” he said.

At first, city parks officials cited the project’s cost when they decided not to clean the gun range, according to emails obtained by The Bee. In March, parks director Christopher Conlin said in an interview his department will seek $50,000 from the City Council to develop a “master plan” for Mangan Park that may include the rehabilitation and reuse of the gun range.

Two days before Shirey ordered the range closed in 2014, the city received a quote from Parc Specialty Contractors to clean the range, including the “roof area around the vents in all discolored areas.” The quote for that work was $67,274, according to a detailed bid of the work obtained through the Public Records Act.

Ryan Lillis: 916-321-1085, @Ryan_Lillis