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Arizona Snowbowl & Waste Water Artificial Snow

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

What do you think about skiing on artificial snow made from sewerage waste water,that has been found to contain pharmaceuticals, hepatitis, industrial pollutants and drugs that could be harmful to children playing in the snow and to skiers? Would you let your children ski their? That is the situation we have in Flagstaff Arizona's Snowbowl.

 

Ski Ninja

post #2 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ski-ninja View Post

What do you think about skiing on artificial snow made from sewerage waste water,that has been found to contain pharmaceuticals, hepatitis, industrial pollutants and drugs that could be harmful to children playing in the snow and to skiers? Would you let your children ski their? That is the situation we have in Flagstaff Arizona's Snowbowl.

 

Ski Ninja

It's treated wastewater, no different than what legally flows into many waterways across the country, waterways that you might swim in or use for drinking water (after further treatment).  While using the treated wastewater for snow and having it melt on the mountain may present some environmental issues to plants and wildlife that should be (and presumably were) evaluated in an environmental impact statement, I would think that skiing presents very little risk for exposure to any pollutants from the snow.  Unless people and their kids are making snowcones out of artificial snow and eating them (which I wouldn't recommend generally, since snowmaking snow already has chemical additives), or otherwise rolling around naked in the snow for long periods of time or inhaling snow, I doubt there are any risks from the snow, other than the usual ski-related risks of knocking into a tree and so forth.  Environmentally, if you need snowmaking in a desert area such as northern Arizona, using treated wastewater seems like a great idea, rather than depleting limited ground and surface water supplies.  The Native Americans raise interesting issues, though, about desecration to traditional sacred sites. 

post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 

Even though Catherine R. Propper, a scientist and professor at Northern Arizona University, found that the waste water contains endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDCs, including hormones, antibiotics, antidepressants, pharmaceuticals and steroids?

post #4 of 23
All treated waste water does. People flush all their drugs down the toilet, unfortunately, and sewage treatment plants are not designed to remove them. The point is, this stuff is all over our waterways. Skiing on it seems like the least of our worries.
post #5 of 23
I agree with ADKS. The water in question has been treated according to Gov regulation. The water flowing through the houses in Flagstaff is the same. Has it been treated? Yes. Are there things in it? Yes. That exists everywhere and always has. Do the Tribes have a good point sure, but they are also being nit-picky about the whole issue. Imho
post #6 of 23

I hope I'll be skiing on it in a week or two.

post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 

This is what some learned scientist have said:

“It’s a disaster, culturally and environmentally,” said Taylor McKinnon of the Center for Biological Diversity

This could cause toxicity and reproductive issues for wildlife surrounding the ski slopes. And as for the humans at Snowbowl? It's hard to say what the health impact may be--this is the first time a ski resort has attempted to use 100% treated wastewater

The use of reclaimed water could result in some change in plant species composition

…....... and some tree mortality may occur. Final Environmental Impact Statement for Arizona Snowbowl.

 

But I guess to some skiing and having fun is more important than ones health.

post #8 of 23

I think the poo water snow will claim far more victims due to falls and wipeouts than it ever will from being ingested.  I don't plan on eating handfuls of it.

post #9 of 23

If I'm not mistaken the use of treated waste water for snowmaking is practiced by a number of other ski areas to no known ill effect.

post #10 of 23

From the Record of Decision on the Snowbowl improvements:

 

"The City of Flagstaff has agreed to provide the ski area with up to 1.5 million gallons per day

(gpd) of Class A+ reclaimed water from the Rio de Flag Water Reclamation Plant (WRP)

between November 1st and the end of February,  . . . .  Currently, reclaimed

water from the Rio de Flag Water Reclamation Plant is used to irrigate city parks, school

playgrounds, and golf courses during the summer, but goes unused throughout the winter, being

allowed to flow down the Rio de Flag channel. The Arizona Department of Environmental

Quality (ADEQ) allows reclaimed water with an “A” rating to be used for snowmaking

purposes. The reclaimed water produced by the Rio de Flag Water Reclamation Plant currently

exceeds this standard."

 

http://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/coconino/landmanagement/projects/?cid=stelprdb5347260&width=full/

 

So, we're worried about making snow out of the same water that is being used to irrigate parks and school playgrounds?  Class A+ reclaimed water?  Anyone know why this concern is popping up now?  I frankly don't know the first thing about Snowbowl or the proposed snowmaking (and any opposition thereto), but it appears the plan was approved in 2005.  Is this system just going online this year or something?

post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ski-ninja View Post

Even though Catherine R. Propper, a scientist and professor at Northern Arizona University, found that the waste water contains endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDCs, including hormones, antibiotics, antidepressants, pharmaceuticals and steroids?

If you only knew what they put in treated water....

post #12 of 23

Since you asked for opinions, I would ski there without a second thought about the source of the water used to make snow.  For me, it is simply a non-issue.

 

However, based upon your statement about other people placing more importance on having fun than their own health, you give the impression you're probably not all that interested in other people's opinions that may be different than your own on the subject...

post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 

This is the first time a ski resort has attempted to use 100% treated wastewater which includes embalming fluid.

post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spooky View Post

If you only knew what WE put in treated water....

Fixed it for you.

 

There' have been a couple of these threads over the past couple years, some moved to the politics and arguing pay per view section of the forums.

 

Fact is, even basic water captured in retaining ponds at the base of a ski area will have all kinds of stuff in it that is less than ideal to run though compressors and ski on.  Road salt, sand, animal waste, etc.  Pretty sure they filter it some so as to not tear up their pumps and compressor snow blowing gear.  Sucks a little?  Yes.  Sucks more than not skiing?  No.  At worst, it may cause your edges to rust faster if you don't clean and dry them after skiing.

 

I've heard the Native American objections to the notion of blowing water containing human waste over land where many of their elders are buried.  I'm not sure I'll ever fully understand the implications from their perspective without being a Native American.  Only matters if they have the power to prevent it though..

post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

Fixed it for you.

 

There' have been a couple of these threads over the past couple years, some moved to the politics and arguing pay per view section of the forums.

 

Fact is, even basic water captured in retaining ponds at the base of a ski area will have all kinds of stuff in it that is less than ideal to run though compressors and ski on.  Road salt, sand, animal waste, etc.  Pretty sure they filter it some so as to not tear up their pumps and compressor snow blowing gear.  Sucks a little?  Yes.  Sucks more than not skiing?  No.  At worst, it may cause your edges to rust faster if you don't clean and dry them after skiing.

 

I've heard the Native American objections to the notion of blowing water containing human waste over land where many of their elders are buried.  I'm not sure I'll ever fully understand the implications from their perspective without being a Native American.  Only matters if they have the power to prevent it though..

The Native Americans would not care if they owned the ski area like Sunrise which has snow making.

post #16 of 23

Cultural impact aside, we need to conserve and recycle water where we can. If the water has been treated to federal guidelines then so be it. Las Vegas would cease to exist if not for treated wastewater.

post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ftmsb View Post

From the Record of Decision on the Snowbowl improvements:

 

"The City of Flagstaff has agreed to provide the ski area with up to 1.5 million gallons per day

(gpd) of Class A+ reclaimed water from the Rio de Flag Water Reclamation Plant (WRP)

between November 1st and the end of February,  . . . .  Currently, reclaimed

water from the Rio de Flag Water Reclamation Plant is used to irrigate city parks, school

playgrounds, and golf courses during the summer, but goes unused throughout the winter, being

allowed to flow down the Rio de Flag channel. The Arizona Department of Environmental

Quality (ADEQ) allows reclaimed water with an “A” rating to be used for snowmaking

purposes. The reclaimed water produced by the Rio de Flag Water Reclamation Plant currently

exceeds this standard."

 

http://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/coconino/landmanagement/projects/?cid=stelprdb5347260&width=full/

 

So, we're worried about making snow out of the same water that is being used to irrigate parks and school playgrounds?  Class A+ reclaimed water?  Anyone know why this concern is popping up now?  I frankly don't know the first thing about Snowbowl or the proposed snowmaking (and any opposition thereto), but it appears the plan was approved in 2005.  Is this system just going online this year or something?

Was paritally online last spring.  This is to be the first year fully online.  It has been held up by numerous lawsuits which finally have been resolved.  Now the area is waiting for nature to cooperate with come cold weather.

post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by asp125 View Post

Cultural impact aside, we need to conserve and recycle water where we can. If the water has been treated to federal guidelines then so be it. Las Vegas would cease to exist if not for treated waste water.

I agree that conservation is important, however I was VERY surprised when I moved to AZ.  Water is used EVERYWHERE!  Construction would cease to exist with out the massive purging of water everywhere, there would be no roads or buildings etc. without it.  As a matter of fact I am not even aware of conservation laws down here.  Shocking to me after moving from Chicago where there are strong water conservation laws.

 

As far as the use of reclaimed water on the ground for me to slide down?  Doesn't bother me a bit.  It is all part of the bigger picture and the largest recycler on the planet.  For me the Indians argument is baseless, but that is my opinion.

post #19 of 23

Up at Snowbowl today and I saw some from Mexico Mexicans doing snow angels in a pile of reclaimed water snow.  They've ramped up the system and it finally stopped blowing piss yellow snow.  I guess there was sediment in the pond. 

post #20 of 23

I'm really not sure how to interpret your comment...but it was not funny.  I am a supporter of the Snowbowl---have yet to even see the blowers being used, but that is not my point.  

post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by rojko View Post

I'm really not sure how to interpret your comment...but it was not funny.  I am a supporter of the Snowbowl---have yet to even see the blowers being used, but that is not my point.  

 

I support Snowbowl, I have a season pass.  When they fired up the guns for the first time the snow was yellow and people were raising a stink about it (all the anti snowmaking voices).  The pond has cleared out and they are laying down a solid white base now and actually have a proper park build going on.  They spray at night, I haven't seen the guns in action either.  I'd imagine they don't want to spray reclaimed water snow on skiers just to avoid any drama that could come from it.  It has been a pretty good year so far.

post #22 of 23
I skied at Belleayre in New York, where they were making snow from natural Catskill water collected in a pond. Some of the snow was greenish, probably due to algae in the pond water. It seems normal to me that artificial snow would have some color cast, regardless of where the water came from.
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DpDverKlondike View Post

 Do the Tribes have a good point sure, but they are also being nit-picky about the whole issue. Imho

 

 

If I dropped my shit in a bucket of bleach before trying to smear it all over the Sistine Chapel, I would expect people would still have an issue with it for some reason.

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