Facility Site ID: 21444552 Cleanup Site ID: 15182

Current Status

Closed firing stations at Plantation Rifle Range
Closed firing stations at Plantation Rifle Range
Last Updated May 2023

This site has confirmed contamination that could harm people or the environment. It is in the state cleanup process under the Model Toxics Control Act.

See the documents in the Site Details section at left to learn more about the site.

A public comment period ran from February 13 - March 17, 2023 for the draft Agreed Order, Interim Action and draft Public Participation Plan. These documents are now final. We received 51 comments. A Response to Comments Summary is now published and available on this site in the "View Documents: Public Information" section below. 

When there are new documents about the site, we’ll notify you about additional public comment periods. 

Land Use

Whatcom County Parks & Recreation operates the Plantation Rifle Range (Site). The Site opened in 1971, prior to the promulgation of RCRA in 1978. The Site is located on property owned by Bertch Timberlands, LLC. Whatcom County Parks & Recreation leases the property from Bertch Timberlands, LLC.

Site Background

Ruby Creek and wetlands at PRR
Ruby Creek and wetlands at PRR

The Site is one of two public shooting ranges in Washington. It has an outdoor, high power rifle range, indoor and outdoor small-bore rifle and pistol ranges, a trap field, and a classroom.

Ruby Creek flows along the eastern boundary of the Site’s high power rifle range. Where the creek meets the 300-yard back stop, it enters a pipe running underneath the backstop. The creek re-emerges from the pipe, to the southeast of the 300-yard targets.

In addition to Ruby Creek, wetlands are located to the east side of the high-power rifle range. Ruby Creek is a major tributary to Finney Creek, which flows into Lake Samish. Lake Samish is a drinking water supply to area residents around the lake.

In 2020, we inspected the range and collected surface water samples. The samples contained lead above Clean Water Act standards for aquatic life in freshwater systems. Starting in 2020, Whatcom County began conducting monthly surface water sampling at the Site. In 2021, we returned and took soil samples from the range floor. These samples confirmed the presence of lead.

While the amount of lead is above Clean Water Act standards for aquatic life, the levels are below the standard for drinking water. Lead removal could be finished sometime in 2023. This is the first time the lead has been removed since the range opened in 1971.


Lead is the known contaminant at Plantation Rifle Range. The first step in corrective action is to do extensive sampling to determine what contamination is on the site and where it is. The known contaminant detected in the soil, sediment and surface water at the Site is lead. Lead is a toxic metal that impairs brain function. Exposure to lead causes noticeable developmental delays in children.

See Health Effects of Lead Exposure for more information about lead effects. 

Some soil samples taken from this site had lead at levels more than 100 times the hazardous waste limit. Limited soil samples have been collected so far and do not represent the entire site.  Risk-based screenings have not taken place yet. At this time, people are not being exposed to harmful levels of contamination because the range is closed.


Formal Cleanup Process
Formal Cleanup Process
This Site is at the beginning of the cleanup process. There are six phases in the process: remedial investigation, feasibility study, planning and design, implementation, monitoring and site use controls.

The first step is to find out the types and extent of contamination. Cleanup activities will be done under an approved health and safety plan. Interim actions or partial cleanups can occur at any time. There will be opportunities for public comment at each stage, except for cleanup implementation. A detailed site assessment will be done in 2023. 

We apply both the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) regulations to clean up hazardous waste sites. The cleanup protects human health and the environment from dangerous wastes and chemicals.
Legal 9
Document Title Document Date Document Type
PRR Agreed Order FINAL 2023 5/31/2023 Agreed Order
AO Exhibit D - Schedule of Deliverables 1/20/2023 Agreed Order
AO Exhibit C - Scope of Work 1/20/2023 Agreed Order
AO Exhibit B - Closure plan PRR 1/20/2023 Agreed Order
AO Exhibit A - Facility Diagram 1/20/2023 Agreed Order
Bertch_Final_PLP_Status_Letter_signed 12.12.22 12/12/2022 Final Potentially Liable Person Status Letter
Whatcom County_Final_PLP_Status_Letter_signed 12.12.22 12/12/2022 Final Potentially Liable Person Status Letter
Plantation Rifle Range - Early Notice Letter (BertchTimberlands) 6/24/2020 Early Notice Letter
Plantation Rifle Range - Early Notice Letter (Thomsen) 6/24/2020 Early Notice Letter
Public Information 3
Document Title Document Date Document Type
Plantation Rifle Range Response to Comments 2023 FINAL 5/4/2023 Responsiveness Summary
Plantation Rifle Range Public Notice 2/28/2023 Fact Sheet\Public Notices
Public Participation Plan PRR 2023 2/28/2023 Public Participation Plan
Technical Reports 5
Document Title Document Date Document Type
Interim Action Plantation Rifle Range 2/6/2023 Interim Action Documents
Plantation Rifle Range - Initial Investigation Field Report 3/12/2020 Initial Investigation Report
Plantation Rifle Range - Analytical Results 1/24/2020 Site Specific Technical Document - other
Plantation Rifle Range - Sample of Opportunity QAPP 1/13/2020 Sampling and Analysis Plan
Plantation Rifle Range - HWTR DW Inspection Report 12/11/2017 Site Specific Administrative Document - other (Administrative correspondence)
There may be more documents related to this site. To obtain documents not available electronically, you will need to make a public records request.

Contaminants 1

Contaminant Type
Surface Water
Metals - Lead C
Confirmed Above Cleanup Levels
Below Cleanup Levels
This contaminant list was based on our best information at the time it was entered. It may not reflect current conditions at the site.