Environmental Project

Remediation and Refurbishment of Police Firing Range Facilities

Montgomery County Police Department Poolesville, MD

Solution Overview

Firing range at the Montgomery County Police Department in Poolesville, MD prior to remediation.


Montgomery County Police Department

Business Challenge:

  • Active firing range requiring both aesthetic and functional improvements as well as environmental remediation
  • Conditions exacerbated by stormwater impacts and erosion


  • Holistic solution to both address lead contamination and modernize the range
  • Step by step plan to address both physical and chemical impacts


  • A revitalized site with increased functionality
  • Positive feedback from the client who has referred Apex to peers requiring the execution of a similar scope


Maryland’s Montgomery County Police Department operates a firing range facility located in Poolesville, Maryland. The firing range consists of four separate ranges including a pistol range, SWAT range, rifle range, and sniper range. Many years of ongoing training at the ranges resulted in numerous environmental impacts. These included impact berms that were heavily eroded and in need of maintenance, backstops that were in terrible shape and in need of restoration, and lead debris and recoverable lead trapped in the berms which required remediation. Stormwater was further eroding these distressed areas and causing runoff of water potentially contaminated with lead and other heavy metals into nearby surface water bodies.


Montgomery County reached out to Apex Companies to help develop a solution. Apex provided a cost effective and aesthetically pleasing approach that would also modernize the ranges. Apex began by addressing each of the ranges and removing the existing wood chips from the range backstops (approx. 2–3 ft thickness) and stockpiling them on‑site pending subsequent waste management determinations. Apex then excavated approximately two feet of soil from the backstop surface and stockpile on-site (separately from the wood chips) for subsequent waste management. After the soils were removed, Apex restored the backstop to its pre‑excavation grade using imported clay materials. Apex also removed and stockpiled the soil in front of the low, target‑protecting berm(s), and removed and replaced the front timbers with new 6 x 6” pressure treated timbers. In lieu of replacing the soil at the berms, Apex prepared the area for installation of ballistic rubber material in front of the timbers.

To minimize downtime of the ranges and equipment mobilizations and for a cost-effective solution, Apex processed the excavated materials from each of the ranges concurrently, after the ranges were restored to operable conditions. The stockpiled soils and wood chips were then processed through a sifter to segregate the gross metal debris (to the extent practicable). These materials were segregated and containerized in roll-off(s) for off‑site recycling. Following sifting, Apex sampled the sifted soil and wood chip residues for laboratory analyses of Resource Recovery and Conservation Act (RCRA) metals and toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP) metals to evaluate residual metals concentrations. Apex managed the off-site disposal of the screened soil and wood chips, that could not be reused as non‑hazardous waste. Waste timbers were hauled offsite for disposal as general construction waste.

Montgomery County requested rubber ballistic material (RBM) similar to the Frederick County, MD firing range. Apex performed a site reconnaissance of Frederick County’s range and discussed their RBM with the rangemaster. Apex then installed RBM across the front berm of the pistol and SWAT firing ranges. Based on the dimensions of the existing berms, 165 blocks (24 x 12 x 9” each) were needed.


The client was very pleased with the outcome. As the featured photos show, there was a positive and noticeable aesthetic difference in the ranges post‑refurbishment, while also reducing any potential negative impacts to sensitive environmental receptors. The refurbishment and restoration of the ranges was designed to last for multiple years. As such, Montgomery County recently reached out to provide a positive referral to the Maryland State Police based on the work Apex performed at the county firing ranges in Poolesville.

Firing range remediation project at the Montgomery County Police Department in Poolesville, MD, post‑refurbishment.
Firing range remediation project at the Montgomery County Police Department in Poolesville, MD, post‑refurbishment.

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