LESTER PRAIRIE, MN People passing the Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club may have noticed activity involving what may appear to be oversized gardening equipment.
Matt Tonn, the club’s treasurer, assured all is well.
“We are in the process of recycling the shot that has been dispersed in the field from many years of trapshooting,” he explained.
Windmill Enterprises, LLC, from Ball Ground, GA was hired to complete the work. Tonn said the company has three workers on-site currently using a giant garden-tiller-like machine to grate up the top 4 to 6 inches of ground.
“The process involves grinding up the top layer of soil,” Tonn explained. “This helps the soil dry out, and also loosens the shot from the thatch and roots. The soil is then piled up and covered with plastic if necessary, to keep the rain off.”
The material needs time to dry out, and then it is sent through another machine, which is similar to a thresher.
“The screening machine separates the material by size and weight into three piles,” Tonn explained. “The rock/grass/chaff pile, the sand pile, and the shot pile.”
The two-to three-week project takes the lead shot that has been removed and sells it to a recycler. The recycler then melts the shot down, and it goes on to new life in car batteries or solar energy equipment. Club members anticipate several tons of lead will be pulled from the grounds.
Tonn said the Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club has been working on getting the proactive project done for some time. There are currently no federal or state regulations which require lead removal.
“The board felt it was a good opportunity to have the material removed before it became a problem in the future,” Tonn said.
There is little danger that the lead has leeched anywhere.
“The material that is currently being removed is coming out looking very good,” Tonn said. “It is the proper shape, size and weight. This indicates that the material is not breaking down in the soil.”
The Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club has approximately 150 members, of which 10 are active, according to Tonn. The club is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Current board members are Sheldon Ehrke, president; Chris Schultz, vice-president/secretary; Matt Tonn, treasurer; Jon Dammann, director; Kyle Horsman, director; Matt Kutz, director; and Paul Mohwinkel, director. Tonn added that Ed Mlynar is also an active member, having been involved with the club for nearly its entire history.
To learn more about the Windmill Enterprises, LLC process, see the link to the company at www.herald-journal.com.
Tonn indicated there are several videos on YouTube that show the removal process, and said the company is currently in negotiations with another area club to complete the same kind of work.