County: Proper fireworks disposal prevents fires, injury and waterway contamination

Failing to clean up fireworks residue is littering, a violation of Washington law and Clark County ordinance

VANCOUVER — Fireworks remain potential sources of fire and injury long after they light up the night sky. Improper disposal of fireworks puts waste and recycling workers at increased risk of injury from fires in their trucks and at transfer stations.

Fireworks debris, if not properly cleaned up, can be washed into storm drains that lead to streams, rivers and other waterways. Fireworks contain a number of heavy metals and other chemicals that can build up in fish and wildlife. Residents can reduce this contamination by sweeping up and disposing of firework debris as soon as possible and not using fireworks near waterways.

Failing to clean up fireworks residue is littering, a violation of Washington law and Clark County ordinance. Clark County Public Works does not provide additional street sweeping after Independence Day.

Tips for proper disposal of used fireworks:

  • Do not place any fireworks or any part of fireworks in your recycling cart. All used fireworks should be treated as garbage and disposed of as follows:
    • Put used fireworks in a bucket of water overnight. Remove them from the water and put them in a garbage bag and into your garbage can.
    • Dump the water onto grass, dirt or other landscape where it won’t flow into a storm drain and into the river. Do not pour onto pavement, into the street or down a drain.

Tips for proper disposal of unused fireworks:

  • Do not put in your garbage or recycling; they are explosives and can cause serious harm to workers and the environment.
  • Do not take them to the transfer stations; workers cannot accept explosives.
  • Do take them to the following locations between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, except holidays. Fireworks must be given directly to personnel, not left in lobby or outside unattended. Check in with office staff prior to bringing fireworks into the building.
    • Clark County Public Safety Complex, 505 NW 179th St., Ridgefield. (360) 397-2186.  
    • Vancouver Police Department, 360.487.7500.
      • East Precinct – 520 SE 155th Ave.
      • West Precinct – 2800 NE Stapleton Rd.
    • Camas-Washougal Fire Department, 360.834.2262.
      • Station 43 – 1400 A St., Washougal.
      • Station 42 – 4321 NW Parker St., Camas.
      • Station 41 – 616 NE Fourth Ave., Camas.

Do not attempt to move or transport homemade explosive devices or altered fireworks for disposal. They will not be accepted at the above locations. Call 9-1-1 and report them for removal.

If a firework fails to ignite, an adult should approach it carefully after at least 15 minutes, and place it in a bucket of water. After soaking overnight, remove it from the water and treat it as an unused firework.

Residents should use fireworks only during legal discharge times, which vary across the county. It is illegal to discharge any fireworks in the city of Vancouver.

Information provided by Clark Co. WA Communications.

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