Ski Resort Makes Snow With Treated Wastewater, After A Long Dispute | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Ski Resort Makes Snow With Treated Wastewater, After A Long Dispute

An Arizona ski resort is making snow for the first time this year, ending more than seven years' worth of legal battles over its snowmaking system, which relies entirely upon treated wastewater to coat its slopes when the snowfall has been uneven.

The resort, Arizona Snowbowl, has long been a target of American Indian tribes, who say it defiles sacred land. Critics have also said the snowmaking system might threaten an endangered plant. The resort sits on more than 700 acres of land that it leases from the U.S. Forest Service.

On its website, the Forest Service says that using reclaimed wastewater to make snow "is an environmentally and economically responsible decision" in Arizona's desert climate.

From Tucson, Ted Robbins filed a report for NPR's Newscast desk that includes more details:

"The Snowbowl resort near Flagstaff has faced numerous challenges to its plan. But it finally began using treated effluent to make snow earlier this week."

"The Hopi tribe withdrew a lawsuit and will instead meet with the Justice Department and the Forest Service to review the water's effects. American Indian tribes have protested the ski resort's existence for decades. It's on a peak held sacred by 13 tribes. Several people were arrested in a protest before Christmas."

According to The Arizona Daily Sun, the resort plans to use its new snowmaking system to lengthen its season, particularly to guarantee that it is open for Christmas.

Earlier this year, the legal battle over the resort's plans gained a new public-health angle, as research showed that Snowbowl's "wastewater system is a breeding ground for antibiotic-resistant genes," as Leslie MacMillan of The New York Times' Green blog wrote in October.

Those concerns reportedly prompted the city of Flagstaff, which sells its wastewater to Snowbowl, to consider adding more advanced filtering equipment. But as NPR's Alix Spiegel reported last year, the term "wastewater" has an identity issue that often limits its uses.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Ghanaian Mystery Writer Says, 'It's Easy To Get Murdered In Accra'

And, author Kwei Quartey adds, "The police may not find you for a little while." That's why he chose to set his second Detective Inspector Dawson book in Ghana's capital.
NPR

Oklahoma Joe's Restaurant Comes Home

Oklahoma Joe's, in Kansas City, is changing its name after 17 years in business. It's time to claim the name of the city they are famous for.
NPR

A Political Family, Funding And Running On Both Sides Of The Aisle

The wealthy Ricketts family includes conservatives and a liberal, activists and a candidate. Between them, they raise and spend a lot of political money — and exemplify how the system has changed.
NPR

X Prize Competition Could Make 'Tricorder' A Reality

Many Star Trek gadgets have made the journey from science fiction to real life. Arun Rath talks to Grant Campany about the X Prize Foundation's competition to bring the medical tricorder to life.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.