Last summer, an under-construction ski resort in Arizona revealed plans to start making snow not from pure mountain water but from recycled sewage. Aside from many complaints from local Native American tribes protesting the resort’s location, others hoped to stop the resort on the grounds that its snow would be unsafe, because it contained may contain hormones, endocrine disruptors, pharmaceuticals, carcinogens, and more.
Neither effort was successful, however, and now the Snowbowl resort is up and running. And, perhaps not unexpectedly, the snow made from sewage is, as the Times reports, quite yellow:
The discolored snow has sharpened an already fraught conflict.
Snowbowl’s manager, J. R. Murray, said the problem was caused by rusty residue in the new snow-making equipment that carries the wastewater from neighboring Flagstaff, where it is piped directly from the town’s sewage treatment plant.
But Taylor McKinnon of the Center for Biological Diversity, a conservation group, says something seems fishy.
Now the government is coming to inspect the snow, but it’s probably best to keep in mind that recycled sewage is already a major part of our everyday lives, from power to our drinking water, and it’s going to become an even more important resource in the future.