Remnants from WWII skeet range still haunt Kingman

Posted: Updated:

KINGMAN, Ariz. (AP) -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will discuss the next steps Tuesday in cleaning up a Kingman site contaminated by a World War II Army gun range.

Corps officials are set to meet at Mohave Community College about the 75-acre area just outside of the city and see if further study and relief are needed, the Kingman Daily Miner reported.

Soldiers training during World War II in Kingman practiced at a skeet range with clay pigeons which unknowingly contained hazardous materials. The pigeons back then were made with coal tar pitch. The material contains toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, also known as PAHs. According to experts, the clay pigeon debris and lead from the projectiles used at the time lay dormant long after the range closed. Tests in 2010 confirmed contamination.

A cleanup effort was initiated last year in the area, which is now made up of 59 residential lots. The U.S. Army Corps removed and replaced 2 feet of contaminated soil and landscaping last July for 55 of the lots. Four families declined the treatment, officials said.

The Corps representatives on Tuesday will address plans to continue cleanup and test additional lots in the surrounding area.

The 15 skeet ranges were part of a gunnery school that opened in January 1943. At the time of its opening, the Mohave County Miner reported it as the sixth of its kind in the country and was attended by 320 students. The school operated until February 1946 and was turned into Storage Depot 41, which housed thousands of combat aircraft.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.