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 this weekend 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 hazardous 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 sale and use of most all types of consumer fireworks.

Although there have been many developments to create newer, greener pyrotechnics, most fireworks still contain a cocktail of chemicals that can make their way into local streams, lakes and rivers and negatively impact water quality.

“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 Matt Prine. “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 and debris can contain numerous pollutants that, when left on the ground, can transfer the compound into drinking water sources
  • 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
  • Go to a public fireworks display where professionals are trained to deal with the potential danger and waste from these displays.

Prine added, “In addition to everyone doing their part this holiday, we encourage residents to look for opportunities throughout the year 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