Shooting ranges

Departure: ETH Zurich, 8.30

Return: ETH Zurich, ca. 18.30

Lunch break: from ca. 13.00 to 14.00

Number of participants: Minimum 15, maximum 25

Recommendations: Sturdy shoes, sun and rain protection. Easy walking.

Cost: 100.- Swiss Francs/person (transport, lunch, snack bag, visits, trip guides)

Organizers: Rainer Schulin, Susan Tandy and Michael Evangelou (ETH Zurich) and Matthias Ackermann (Canton Luzern)

Contamination of shooting range soils is one of the major soil pollution problems of current political concern in Switzerland. Due to its militia system, Switzerland has a very high density of shooting ranges where shooting is regularly practiced. Soils of these ranges are generally highly contaminated in the area of the stop butts with lead (Pb) and antimony (Sb), but also with other metals, including copper (Cu), nickel (Ni) and zinc (Zn). Around 2000 ranges are still active. Around 4000 ranges have been decommissioned, and most of them have not yet been remediated.

In this excursion, we will show how cantonal agencies in collaboration with the Swiss army are addressing the problem of remediating polluted shooting range soils and redesigning new shooting ranges to prevent new pollution. The excursion will include a visit to a shooting range in the vicinity of Lucerne in central Switzerland, the presentation of research results on Sb and metal leaching from relocated shooting range soil in a field-scale lysimeter facility, and a guided tour through a soil washing facility on the way back to Zürich.

The excursion will bring us into the fascinating pre-alpine mountain area around Lake Lucerne, which is the historical heart of Switzerland. It is here where Swiss peasants in the old times first won independence from domination by medieval aristocracy and where, according to legend, Wilhelm Tell established the fearsome reputation of Swiss crossbowmen.

Lysimeter facility

View of the region at Schwändelberg

Shooting range "Hüslenmoos"