Indiana American Water Encourages Safe Use of Fireworks to Reduce Water Pollution

GREENWOOD, Ind. (July 3, 2018) – Although fireworks displays are considered by most of us to be as patriotic as the American flag and apple pie, they can contaminate our lakes and waterways if not handled properly.

Indiana American Water, the state’s largest investor-owned water utility, encourages everyone lighting off fireworks to keep them away from local water sources to help reduce the amount of contaminants entering Indiana’s waterways. Recent studies have shown that many fireworks and the waste they create, may contain certain compounds that can contaminate water supplies and present health concerns. This is especially important for Hoosiers, since Indiana is one of more than two dozen states that allows the use of most all types of consumer fireworks.

In recent years, there have been many developments to create newer, greener pyrotechnics. However, a common compound used as an oxidizer, perchlorate, is still found in many of today’s fireworks and can potentially cause adverse effects. Perchlorate, also found in rocket fuels, explosives and certain nitrogen fertilizers, can potentially create problems with the human thyroid gland according to the United States Geological Survey.

“We want all of our residents to have a great holiday experience and enjoy fireworks displays, but we are also encouraging everyone to be aware that debris left over from fireworks may contain harmful compounds that pose a threat to our waterways,” said Indiana American Water President Deborah Dewey. “If you are planning to light off fireworks as a part of your celebrations, make sure you are aware of your surroundings, keep clear of waterways, and clean up fireworks waste to help ensure Indiana’s water supplies are not negatively impacted.”

Indiana American Water asks that people do their part to lessen environmental pollution by:

  • Immediately cleaning up firework debris since the shells can contain perchlorates, and when left on the ground, can transfer the compound into ground water
  • Disposing of malfunctioning fireworks properly—avoid injury by containing any possible ignition of a ‘dud’ using water in a container to ensure runoff isn’t lost into the ground
  • Requesting low-perchlorate fireworks—look for any alternative sources
  • Implementing Disney World’s practice of using compressed air to launch fireworks, eliminating the use of gunpowder

According to an article in the American Scientist, recent research into utilizing safer, more environmentally friendly oxidizers has largely resulted in perchlorates being removed from military pyrotechnics. The article also noted that this trend is starting to cross over into the civilian pyrotechnics industry and is likely to expand in the future.

Dewey added, “In addition to everyone doing their part this holiday, we encourage residents to look for opportunities year round to help keep our waterways clean and ensure quality water from the source to the tap.”

For more information on what you can do to protect watershed resources, visit us online at https://amwater.com/inaw/water-information/watershed-protection.

About Indiana American Water

Indiana American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 1.3 million people.  With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,900 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 15 million people in 46 states and Ontario, Canada. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing. For more information, visit amwater.com and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.