MT. HOPE, Kan. (KSNW) — A proposed gun range located just west of Mt. Hope and south of Kansas Highway 96 was postponed indefinitely by the Sedgwick County Board of County Commissioners Wednesday.
Commissioner David Dennis says the property in question contains several pits roughly 26 feet deep—the bottom of those pits intersects with the area’s water table.
“And that water table happens to be the Equus Beds that provides water to a lot of people in this area,” Dennis said.
Dennis says lead from shotgun shells and bullets could make its way into the area’s water supply.
“As they impact the, the dirt berms, they’re going to fragment, and then what happens is during rain then that can possibly wash out and down into these pits again and interact with the groundwater,” Dennis said.
According to the EPA, the action level, or limit, in drinking water is 15 parts per billion. Dennis warns contamination could be much higher if these concerns are not resolved.
“Just five people shooting three or four rounds, we’re talking 40 or 50 pounds of lead,” Dennis said.
Landowner Tyler Graves says he bought the property last year in the hopes of creating a gun range.
“It’s been a dream for a long time,” Graves said.
Graves says several state and local officials were involved in the process long before the Sedgwick County Board of County Commissioners’ decision Wednesday.
“There’s some frustrations—we’ve, we’ve jumped a lot of hurdles so far,” Graves said.
Graves says he will continue to work with Sedgwick County and other local/state officials to ensure water quality is not compromised.
“We’re drinking out of the same wells that our land sits on so, you know, we don’t, we definitely don’t want to harm anybody in that way,” Graves said.