Liability and Financial Risk for the City of Sioux Center:
As the owner of the Sandy Hollow property, the City of Sioux Center is likely to be held partially responsible for environmental degradation caused by the proposed Outdoor Sporting Complex, should it occur. Given the nature of the site, and the operations currently planned, ground and surface water contamination are likely, and the cost of remediation could be substantial. Applicable federal laws and regulations include the Clean Water Act (CWA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund). (National Shooting Sports Foundation, ‘Environmental Aspects of Construction and Management of Outdoor Shooting Ranges, p. 1-3 to 1-9).
The proposed lease with the NIOSC Board indicates that the Board is responsible for managing the lead shot dispersed on the property, but does not include language specific enough to ensure that the site will be decontaminated prior to termination of the lease. Contaminated land (defined by statute) would have minimal resale value, and if the shooting range was no longer in operation could be subject to RCRA statutes requiring decontamination at the owner’s expense. Given the extensive areas that will receive lead deposits at Sandy Hollow, the land area is very likely to be considered ‘contaminated’ at the end of the lease, leaving the City and its residents with a substantial (hundreds of thousands of dollars in comparable cases) cleanup bill.