One time Sebastian told me the lead from bullets is stable and doesn't result in environmental poisoning. Is that true? These folks up in Oregon don't seem to think so.Marks says he and Harris dig 70 to 80 test holes and analyze the soil at 3-inch depth intervals to estimate the recoverable lead per square foot. Then they plot their work on a grid based on the location of shooting stations and the shot fall pattern.
They scoop layers of dirt and dump it into a pair of revolving metal tubes, one inside the other, that screen and wash the material. Tiny shotgun pellets, heavy enough that they aren't washed away with the dirt, emerge from the final screening. Pellets are loaded into 55-gallon drums and hauled away.
It's a business that's taken off nationally. Dan Pohle, of Butlerville, Ind., sells modified mining equipment to contractors who recover lead from ranges. One range owner estimated he had 750,000 pounds of lead sitting on his range -- potentially worth several hundred thousand dollars.
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