Guest Column (Sept., 11, 2008)

Concerned with lead pollution

Sept. 11, 2008
By Mona Boutin

The North Country Sportsmen’s Club in Williston is not doing any favors to the town of Williston by teaching more people to target shoot. The noise and accompanying echo made by the shots every Wednesday night and Sunday can be heard throughout the town and into several of the surrounding towns, including Richmond, Hinesburg and St. George. Williston is too residential for its taxpayers to have to put up with this type of invasion on our weeknight and weekends.

There are also environmental issues. A typical 1.25-ounce, 12-gauge shotgun shell contains about 280 lead shot pellets. This means that for every six shells shot, 1,680 lead pellets are deposited in the environment, which equals nearly one-half pound of lead. This lead is being dumped at an increased rate as the Club is now trying to shoot on Saturdays in addition to its current schedule. I have estimated that the Club is sitting on approximately 1,092,000 pounds of lead behind its clubhouse.

This 546 tons of lead is also sitting in a “Wellhead Protection Area” on Old Creamery Road. This Wellhead Protection Area is clearly marked so people will be careful not to do anything that might contaminate the ground and water underneath. Water purification and 546 tons of lead are not compatible.

Our well has tested positive for lead; I encourage anyone who lives in the vicinity of the North Country Sportsmen’s Club to have their water tested.

Lead in drinking water can cause a wide variety of health issues. In babies and small children, their physical and mental development can be delayed and they may experience deficits in their attention span and learning abilities. In adults, it can increase blood pressure and people can even develop kidney problems.

Contrary to popular belief, lead cannot be boiled out of your water.

If you would like to have your water tested to make sure the levels of lead are safe, contact the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791.

I’m hoping this column will reach out to my fellow community members who are probably just as concerned as I am, and together, we can make a difference in our town.

Mona Boutin lives on Old Creamery Road in Williston.