Ski mountain to make snow out of wastewater

Have I mentioned that Great Lakes Echo reporters love poop stories?

Because I found another one.

Imagine gliding down a mountain of wastewater snow. Flickr: RenoTahoe (flickr)

Arizona Snowbowl, a ski resort outside of Flagstaff, Ariz. has found a new way to make artificial snow using reclaimed water from Flagstaff’s wastewater treatment plant.

Not that everyone thinks sewage-snow is a great idea. Environmental groups and Native Americans have opposed the idea, even taking the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court.

There seem to be potential dangers to lining slopes with treated sewage. But shouldn’t we be cheering innovative ways to close that ultimate waste cycle?

I found no mention of sewage-snow on the resort’s website. Perhaps they thought the idea would keep skiers from the slopes.

Gliding atop white-washed sewage snow is one thing, but falling in it is entirely different.

  • Paul

    Like Gail said we will commit environmental degradation just to amuse ourselves and play. Decades ago it was not a burning issue, but, now the damages are compounded many times over. But, hey, don’t worry, be happy.

  • Grenetta

    I lived in Flagstaff from 1991-2004, and this became an issue around 2002. The San Francisco Peaks, where Snowbowl is located, are a sacred site for at least 6 or 7 different tribes. They found this highly offensive. However, there was also the fact that snowmaking on the Peaks – not done currently, at all – would require the construction of a million-gallon water storage pond within the ski area, as well as the construction of a pipeline from Flagstaff to the Snowbowl to convey the water. Water issues in the West are a very different ballgame than they are in the Great Lakes, and there is much more to this issue than poop. Thanks for posting this – amazing that 10 years later, it remains unsolved.

  • Chris

    But if it’s “reclaimed wastewater,” as the story says, isn’t it fit for drinking, etc? If it’s been through the full treatment process, it shouldn’t be poopy at all.

  • Harold

    It seems that “sewage snow” is nothing more than land application of sewage effluent. Will they be monitoring the receiving streams once the hillsides begin to melt?

  • gail

    Seems like people will do anything to keep from actually having to come to grips with the rapidly increasing degradation occuring on our planet’s natural environment and to continually feed the need to constantly amuse ourselves instead. How tragic.

  • William K

    I love poop stories, too!