Fireworks Disposal Safety Reminders

The Sandoval County Public Works Department and the Sandoval County Fire Department would like to remind County residents who live in the unincorporated areas that there is a fireworks ban in place. However, for those county residents who live in the incorporated areas, such as the City of Rio Rancho or Town of Bernalillo for example, here are some important safety reminders for the proper disposal of approved fireworks:

  • Pick up all debris. After your firework show, comb the area for any pieces that may have scattered in the explosion. Watch the fireworks as they fall to the ground, and mark their locations so that you don’t miss anything. If you leave a piece of burning material on the ground, you might start a fire! Furthermore, fireworks often contain metals and other materials that can pollute an ecosystem and contaminate the water table. Do your part to minimize your impact.
  • Dunk fireworks in water after use. Submerge them in a large bucket of water until they are thoroughly cooled and all of the embers have been extinguished. Soak for at least 24 to 48 hours.
    • This applies to all spent fireworks, “dud” fireworks, and sparklers. For extra safety, soak the fireworks from a distance. Pour water from a bucket, or spray the explosives using a garden hose.
    • It’s important to soak even the fireworks that don’t go off. Sometimes, “duds” explode late, causing fire or injury. Never try to relight a “dud” – wait 20 minutes after the failed detonation, and then soak the explosive in water.
    • Remove the fuse from live fireworks. If you are trying to dispose of fireworks that have not yet been lit, make sure to pull off the wicks so that the explosives won’t detonate.
  • Do not soak fireworks in or near a natural body of water. The compounds that are used to make the colorful explosions contain metals that can pollute the air, water, and surrounding ecosystem. Furthermore: if you set off fireworks near the surface of a body of water, the concussion can kill fish and other local wildlife. If your fireworks do explode above a body of water, make sure to promptly remove any visible debris from the explosive shell.
  • Wrap the soaked fireworks. Use trash bags, Ziploc, or plastic wrap so that the wet explosives don’t dry out. Consider double-wrapping the bags. It’s okay to put multiple fireworks in the same bag, as long as it is sealed.
  • Place fireworks in regular household trash. Fireworks cannot be recycled or composted. If possible, bring the fireworks to your local solid waste center. Make sure to tell the workers at the waste center that you are disposing of fireworks – and whether they are live, spent, or duds.