Environmental impact of Rhythm and Booms moving downtown - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Environmental impact of Rhythm and Booms moving downtown


MADISON (WKOW)-- The decision to move the Rhythm and Booms fireworks display downtown drew a lot of debate Thursday night. Many who attended the Madison Committee on the Environment meeting say they are worried about chemicals and trash ending up in Lake Monona

"I am really concerned that we're going to take the jewels of our city, this is something that is just so important and we're just going to throw it away because we want to have a one time event," concerned citizen Karen Matteoni says.

One of the main concerns was about perchlorate, the compound that gives fireworks their launching capability. With Madison Festivals proposing the idea of launching next year's fireworks display from barges on Lake Monona, many residents worried about the effect it will have on the lake.

"Are they safe? The test and all the studies we have run is yes. They are safe," Madison Festivals President Rita Kelliher says. "All of those studies are published on our website."

Madison City Hydrogeologist Brynn Bemis agreed. Studies that were conducted in 2012 at the Warner Park Lagoon before and after the fireworks display showed no increase in metals and a slight increase in perchlorate which dissipated over a few days.

"Because we're not noticing it in this much smaller body of water, I would not assume that we would find impacts from trace metals in Lake Monona," Bemis says.

Many residents however were not convinced.

"I'm really concerned that we don't know what's going to happen if we continue to have an event on Lake Monona year after year and those things go up and come down into the water," concerned citizen Kyle Richmond says.

Some concerned citizens even brought props to display the debris that was collected after last year's fireworks show in Warner Park. Many at the meeting feel that more tests need to be carried out.

"I wanna know what's in the sediment and the water quality before we start so next Spring sometime to give us a base line and then we will go back and test again," Madison City Alder Marsha Rummel says.

After hearing from all of the speakers committee members discussed the many environmental issues that were raised. At a later date they will make a recommendation to the City of Madison on how to approach this idea of moving the fireworks to Lake Monona.

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