Current issues

Contamination from Wangaratta Clay Target Club

In June 2016, EPA issued Wangaratta Clay Target Club (WCTC) with two notices:

  • determine the extent of lead contamination at the North Wangaratta Recreation Reserve
  • implement measures to prevent groundwater and land contamination.

Lead contamination above the Health Investigation Level for recreational levels was detected in soil samples taken from the site’s eastern boundary. The reserve was closed to the community.

For further background on this issue, see the Contamination from Wangaratta Clay Target Club archive.

December 2019 update

Excavation of lead-contaminated soil at the North Wangaratta football oval is now complete. The soil contamination was from lead shot used in past shooting activities adjacent to the football oval at the WCTC.

Following excavation of the contaminated material, soil testing has confirmed lead contamination has been reduced to a level that poses minimal risk to human health and the environment. The testing to confirm the clean-up was reviewed and approved by an independent auditor.

Works on the reconstruction of the oval are also now complete. The playing surface was used for the 2019 football season and the cricket season has just commenced. Rural City of Wangaratta oversaw reconstruction of the oval.

The contaminated soil from the recreation reserve has been temporarily stored on the WCTC premises. Management of this soil will be included in a more detailed plan to mitigate risks from the premises.

Groundwater management

Groundwater samples have been taken from the WCTC premise on a number of occasions since July 2018. Some samples showed several exceedances of the health guideline levels outlined in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG) for:

  • lead
  • nickel
  • and arsenic.

Investigations about groundwater contamination are continuing. Because of some inconsistency with previous testing, further groundwater monitoring will be required to confirm groundwater quality.

The results indicate that lead and arsenic are present primarily in suspended solids within the samples taken (that is, in the dirt and sediment, and undissolved in groundwater), while nickel appears to be dissolved in the groundwater itself.

Groundwater in the area may be contaminated and is not recommended for drinking.

For other uses of groundwater, such as irrigation and stock watering, groundwater should be tested regularly to ensure its suitability.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) offer residents  more information about private drinking water supplies

Cleanup plan for Wangaratta Clay Target Club

The preliminary plan to identify risk mitigation measures and/or clean-up options for WCTC was delayed while work has been focused on the North Wangaratta football oval. The preliminary risk mitigation plan was completed and submitted to EPA in September 2018. A final risk mitigation plan for the site is due to be submitted to EPA in January 2020, with any works commencing shortly after.  

Further information

Please don't hesitate to contact EPA on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC) for more information about environmental or health risks, or the Rural City of Wangaratta for information about the oval reinstatement.

You can also visit our Contamination from shooting ranges web page. Partly as a result of experience gained at this site, a guide for managing contamination at shooting ranges was developed. It is available here.

Page last updated on 13 Dec 2019