City to test lead near gun range
The city's new public works administrator said Thursday the city will test up to 300 homes around the city for unhealthy levels of lead to allay any fears of contamination of the city's water supply.
Public Works Administrator Claude Tankersley said letters have been sent to homeowners in every part of the city. The program will be voluntary and will test the water distribution system and the water that comes out of faucets in the homes, he said.
Residents near the Skyway Trap and Skeet Club have appealed to the City Council for months, claiming that the city's main water line, which runs underneath the gun club's "drop zone" of spent bullets and shot, remains contaminated with dangerous levels of lead. Previous testing has found no elevated levels of lead in the city's water supply.
The gun club had been embroiled in legal battles with the Southwest Florida Water Management District, known as Swiftmud, for more than a decade over lead contamination.
In February, the agency dropped its suit after longtime NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer asked Swiftmud to be dissolved for violating a state law banning the state from suing gun clubs.
At Thursday's City Council meeting, Tankersley said the Pinellas Park gun club's lead issues had not affected St. Petersburg's water supply,
"I’m confident our water far exceeds all requirements for lead, But we’re doing this to assure our citizens that my confidence is backed by recent data," Tankersley said.
He promised to bring back a report with the results by May.