Look what we have here! Plans to make artificial snow from recycled human waste might sound incredible, but the fact is that the owners of a ski resort are planning to create snow using 180 million gallons of sewage effluent.
The Snowbowl Ski Resort is at 12,000 feet in the San Francisco Peaks. Its owners have reportedly sought snowmaking solutions to compensate for the snowfall fluctuations that occur in the arid desert state. Though they had tried this in 1979, they had to scrap the project after community uproar against it.
The snow will be created from reclaimed water from the city of Flagstaff’s wastewater treatment plants. The water will be pumped through a pipeline 15 miles uphill to a reservoir. It will stay there until the ski resort needs it.
During the off-ski season, the resort will pump the wastewater into large fans where it will become frozen droplets and snow.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the wastewater is completely safe for humans as long as it is treated. However, Native Americans and even environmentalists oppose the plan on health grounds.
Quoting a US Geological Survey they say that even “clean” wastewater “can contain a wide range of organic chemicals, pharmaceuticals, hormones, industrial pollutants, carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.
“When you put these substances into a delicate alpine environment like the Peaks, there is going to be big impacts to amphibians, other animals and the soil,” says Andy Bessler, an environmental justice organizer for the Sierra Club based in Flagstaff.
Native American tribes also oppose the plans saying the Peaks are sacred grounds and using effluent would sully their holy ground.
Work has already begun on the pipeline and if the Snowbowl starts its ‘poop snow’ plan, it will be the first resort in the world to use 100 percent wastewater to do so.