Snowbowl Ski Resort in Flagstaff AZ wants to use reclaimed wastewater to pump up their snow making capacity. That's right, man made poo snow. Is this an inovative green concept or is it gross? What do you think? Skiing on Brown Snow Just Might be a Green Thing to Do | Making Snow with Wastewater | Unofficial Networks

Skiing on Brown Snow Just Might be a Green Thing to Do | Making Snow with Wastewater

Skiing on Brown Snow Just Might be a Green Thing to Do | Making Snow with Wastewater

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Skiing on Brown Snow Just Might be a Green Thing to Do | Making Snow with Wastewater

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Polar Bear takes a dump on snow

Snowbowl Ski Resort in Flagstaff, AZ wants to use reclaimed wastewater to pump up their snow making capacity. That’s right, man made poo snow. Is this an inovative green concept or is it gross? What do you think?

We’ve all heard it before. Don’t eat yellow snow. Don’t poop next to where you keep your toothbrush. Wash your hands. On and on with the copraphobia. But what about using recycled wastewater for snow making? Is that green or just plain gross?

Snowmaking

Frozen Particulate Poo

If you ask me I’d have to say it sounds pretty green. Reclaimed wastewater really isn’t all that gross. If you’ve ever swam in the ocean you’ve probably been exposed to lots more poo water than you ever would sliding on some frozen reclaimed effluent.

wastewater_treatment_big

Wastewater Treatment Facility

Wastewater treatment isn’t perfect but it does do a darn good job of removing suspended solids, nutrients, and pathogens (bacteria and parasites that can make you sick) from the water. In most cases treated effluent is actually just poured back into streams or into the ocean. Sometimes it’s used to water crops or even just allowed to infiltrate into fallow land. But whether you like it or not all that treated water gets right back into the whole big water cycle. Freezing it and spraying it on a mountain really doesn’t sound like a bad option to me.

wastewater treatment schematic

wastewater treatment schematic

A few environmental agencies and Native American councils in Arizona have been up in arms against the idea. There have been claims made that it endangers the ecological and cultural integrity of the landscape there. It is true that treated effluent can contain trace amounts of household cleaning products and even all of the metabolites of drugs and hormones that our over-medicated society consumes. In some areas estrogenic effects have been observed in fish and frogs. When fish and frog hormones get out of whack you can see all kinds of developmental problems. Sometimes you can end up with an entire generation of females, which might be great for the few that do develop as males, but generally its bad for the propagation of a species.

Anyway, that’s a whole other article. This one is about poo snow. What do you think? should reclaimed water be used to make snow or not?

yellow snow cone

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