Ski Resort Cleared To Use Reclaimed Wastewater
After seven years of legal wrangling with environmental groups and Native American tribes, the Arizona Snowbowl finally has an answer as to whether it can use reclaimed wastewater for snowmaking, as reported recently by the Arizona Daily Sun.
That answer came in the form of a dropped lawsuit by the Hopi tribe, who argued that the reused wastewater would endanger plant life on the San Francisco Peaks. It was the last active suit against the resort, which also fought and won battles over the years with environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and the Save the Peaks Coalition. While the Hopi and other Native American tribes consider the land to be sacred ground, and thus objected on that front, the environmentalists were concerned about the safety and impact of laying reclaimed wastewater throughout the area.
On hold since 2005, the Arizona Snowbowl has officially commenced with the snowmaking procedure, using wastewater it purchases from City of Flagstaff. Skiers and snowboarders will get their first taste of the snow — pardon the expression — when it is utilized on the slopes later this season.
According to the USDA, Flagstaff's reclaimed water meets all state and federal surface and ground water quality standards, and both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality have certified and approved its use for snowmaking.
When we last visited this topic, it drew considerable comments and was one of Water Online's top-clicked stories of the year. What are your thoughts now that the project is moving forward? Is this a safe and sustainable solution, especially in the water-scarce West, or is the negative perception justified? Please share your comments below.