New rules regulate fireworks over San Diego water


Posted: 05/12/2011 08:09:17 PM PDT

SAN DIEGO—Anyone who wants to shoot fireworks along the San Diego County coastline will have to apply for a permit and clean up shells, fuses and other debris that end up in the water under new rules approved this week by water regulators.

In an attempt to protect bodies of water from pyrotechnics pollutants, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board approved on Wednesday what they said will be the first such regulation in the country.

The rules will require fireworks producers to pay an annual $1,500 fee, minimize the discharge of pollutants into the water and clean up remnants that wind up in the water.

The rules, which will largely affect the estimated 55 fireworks over San Diego Bay each year, will also apply to displays over rivers, streams, reservoirs and lakes.

Officials said the metals and chemicals used in fireworks can also contaminate water and become toxic to aquatic life.

Fireworks advocates argue that the permits are unnecessary because the environmental impact of the displays are minor.

Water board officials said it was the nation’s first comprehensive policy to regulate fireworks to meet federal Clean Water Act requirements.

EPA scientist Cindy Lin said her agency now must decide whether to consider similar rules on a national scale.

“We wholeheartedly support the permit,” Lin said of the regional board’s decision. “We think they are on the right approach.”

The rules will take effect