New requirements for South Shore fireworks shows
Proposed permit terms spell out steps Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority and Pyro Spectaculars North must take to hold future Fourth of July and Labor Day fireworks shows.
Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District will be responsible for issuing permits for the fireworks shows, a 30-year South Shore tradition that almost came to an end because of a lawsuit that alleged debris from the shows falling into the scenic mountain lake was a violation of the federal Clean Water Act
Joan and Joseph Truxler’s federal lawsuit came after large amounts of debris washed ashore near their PineWild home on Marla Bay following last year’s shows. It was recently settled with their approval.
“We will meet with Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District this month to nail down what needs to be done and get the process going, and for them to educate us and for us to build the framework with them and then execute,” said Mike Frye, event and media relations manager for LTVA.
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“Part of that execution is to relook at the shells we’re shooting, to make sure they are going to leave the least residue possible, and then have a pickup program that works in case something does wash up on the beach.”
LTVA and Pyro Spectaculars North always have tried to clean up after the South Shore shows and were taken aback by reports of debris on area beaches, Frye said.
“The bottom line to us is the fireworks shows are important to the community and keeping the lake pristine is important to the community as well,” he said.
As part of the lawsuit settlement, the permit would require surface debris cleanup by a boat crew the night of a fireworks show, surface and underwater cleanup by a boat crew and divers the following day and foot patrols to hunt for debris on area beaches for at least five days after a show.
“Much of what is going to be done has been done in the past, but certainly there are some additions to the effort,” said Ian Gilfillan, vice president of Pyro Spectaculars North. “Everybody understands the conditions and with a lot of cooperation and organization all of the terms of the permit can be met.”
One new condition is the creation of a phone and email hotline for people to report complaints about fireworks debris. The hotline would be up for at least three months after a fireworks show.
Another new condition would be the creation of an official event log. Once completed, the log would be provided to Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Nevada Department of Environmental Protection, and also made available to the public.
The Truxlers said they never wanted to see the fireworks shows end and are confident the more formalized process and oversight will allow the popular displays to continue and help ensure things are adequately cleaned.
“If we can implement those things, and you can’t implement them all at one time, some of them will take some time, the discharge of debris will be significantly less and the lake will be better off. Without a doubt,” Joseph Truxler said.
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