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No excess lead found in sea off Courtney

Date Posted: 2001-07-13

An environmental assessment of the former Camp Courtney Skeet Range was conducted by the Marine Corps Environmental Branch from July 2000 to June 2001. Some local press reports had raised the question after a skeet range at the shore of Camp Courtney was closed and some local official had expressed concerns of high level of lead in the plants and sea bottom in the area.

The environmental assessment consisted of both an historical search to identify potential contaminants and sampling of soil, beach sand, ocean sediment and seaweed. The historical search determined that lead from the skeet range had the greatest potential impact on the environment due to the 37-year use of the skeet range. Therefore, evaluation of lead levels was the primary focus of this environmental assessment.

Although the skeet range was closed in 1999, the Marine Corps wanted to ensure the area is safe for humans and sea life.

Research and sampling revealed that lead levels in the sand, soil and ocean sediment around the skeet range are far below both Japanese and U.S. environmental standards so that no clean up is required.

Although the lead levels in this area are well below levels requiring clean up under existing Japanese and U.S. environmental law, no standard was found regarding acceptable levels of lead in seaweed. Until such a standard is identified or established by the Government of Japan, the Marine Corps plans to restrict harvesting of seaweed in this area in order to ensure maximum safety of those who may consume products which contain seaweed.

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