2024 Undergraduate Research Showcase

Soil Pollution at a Local Firing Range

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Jen Pierce and Dr. Mark Schmitz


Contamination of firing range soils due to bullets is an extremely prevalent issue throughout the world. Past research on soil contamination at firing ranges has shown that the weathering of bullets can pose severe contamination risks for the metals found within bullets, such as lead and antimony. This causes immediate health concerns due to the possibility of lead and antimony from the bullets reaching groundwater and potentially threatening drinking water. The objective of this study was to determine the degree of soil contamination from bullets at the Mountain Cove police shooting range in Boise, Idaho. This was accomplished by collecting soil samples from the site using a composite sampling method, then determining the composition of these samples using ICP-MS. It was determined that there are significantly elevated concentrations of lead and antimony within the berm soil, which suggests that further remediation at the site may be necessary in order to mitigate the risks of this pollution.

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