A ski resort in Arizona fought for years for the right to make snow out of wastewater, and began doing so on Christmas Eve. Since then, complaints have come in about the yellow snow at the Arizona Snowbowl. The slope's manager blames rusty pipes; others blame the fact that the water used to make the snow is from Flagstaff's sewage treatment plant.
Mike Fulton, water quality division director of the state Department of Environmental Quality, said the agency was “looking hard” into several complaints it had received claiming that the presence of the manufactured snow on the slopes violated state laws on the use of reclaimed water, which prohibit ingesting it. Critics argue, among other things, that wastewater snow is being tracked into eating areas and that children are playing in it and touching their faces with it.
The water used for making snow at the ski area is not drinking water. Studies have found that it contains hormones, pharmaceuticals, antibiotics and other chemicals. There is much debate about whether these chemicals are harmful in small amounts.
Regardless, the discolored snow has meant Snowbowl has to contend with a heightened ick factor. Kaelan Monroe, 11, said he went skiing on New Year’s Day and that the conditions were “kind of disgusting.”