Surprise! Fake Snow Made From Sewage Comes Out Yellow

“I can’t believe that snow made from sewage effluent came out yellow!” said no one ever.

It was way back in 2011 when Care2 first reported on an Arizona ski resort’s announcement that they would manufacture snow from wastewater. Snowbowl Ski Resort in Flagstaff, Arizona is in the middle of desert, so it’s no surprise that it depends heavily on artificial snow making to stay in business. While I’m normally supportive of any attempt to reuse and recycle, this idea of making a snow angel in a pile of something someone once flushed down the toilet is gag-worthy.

Environmental advocates, including several Native American tribes, were aghast that the City of Flagstaff had agreed to to sell the resort 1.5 million gallons of wastewater per day. The Coconino National Forest’s environmental impact statement for the project contained a laundry list of potential problems: visible “scarring” of the local landscape, increased local noise levels from the snowmaking machines, the potential to change soil chemistry and moisture, and destruction of wildlife habitats. The Hopi Tribe objected on the basis that the grounds were sacred, and therefore should not be defiled with “soiled water.”

Then, last October, research out of Virginia Tech indicated that making snow with recycled sewage could turn the mountain into a breeding ground for antibiotic-resistant genes. Who wants to take a run down Super Bacteria Pass?!

Well despite the public protest, and against all common sense, Snowbowl forged ahead with its icky plan. When the ski season started, it fired up the snow making machines and proceeded to spray the slopes down with the recycled sewage. And what do you know? The stuff came out yellow.

The resort’s manager told the New York Times that the color was caused by “rusty residue in the new snow-making equipment” that’s piping the snow in from a nearby sewage treatment plant. Arizona’s environmental officials haven’t yet confirmed or denied that, and we all know what that means.

For now, the old adage about not eating (or touching) the yellow snow stands.

Related Reading:

Use 70% Less Water With Automatic Recycling Shower

4 Ways Drought Threatens U.S. Drinking Water And Aquatic Life

U.S. Waters Polluted By 10 Million Pounds Of Dog Poop

Image via Thinkstock

210 comments

John R.
John d.3 years ago

It amazes me to read these comments - people think - the only thing that stinks here is the story itself and most of your comments -- some one that Can't Understand Normal Thinking wrote a misleading story and the majority of you believe it -

THE EPA WOULD SHUT THEM DOWN AND IF IT SMELLED OR LOOKED LIKE SHE SAID AND YOU PEOPLE SEEM TO BELIEVE HER THERE WOULD BE NO ONE THAT WENT THERE AND THEY WOULD BE OUT OF BUSINESS.

YOU EYE DEE TEN TEA PEOPLE HAVE NO POWER TO THINK !!!!

Ken H.
Ken H.3 years ago

It must of smelled too....what folks will do to hit a tree.

Lin M
Lin M3 years ago

No matter, it still is a stinkin thought.

Lydia Price

If it were purely fecal matter it wouldn't be such a problem. After all, waste matter can be an excellent soil amendment. The chemicals contained in sewage are alarming and are consistently found to be at dangerous levels when exiting most treatment plants. This is an extremely inappropriate use for it. I extend my profound sympathy to the Hopi Tribe. In this world today nothing is valued as sacred anymore.

Rama H.
Rudy V.3 years ago

Most of the Golf Courses are watered with recycled sewer water too.

Barbara D.
Past Member 3 years ago

Rusty equipment??? DUH!!!!!!!!

paul m.
paul m.3 years ago

Crap is crap ,,,,not for snow but as fertilizer..( muck spreading)

Therese Davey
Therese Davey3 years ago

Is someone extracting the urine here, is this a true story?

karen C.
karen C.3 years ago

shit

Abbe A.
Azaima A.3 years ago

lovely