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Plan would put treated wastewater on the ski slopes

FILE --Skiers and snowboarders enjoy the freshly fallen snow at Brighton Ski Resort, Utah, Friday, Nov. 13, 2009. A Snow maker adds to the snow depth. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

YELLOWSTONE, Montana — A ski resort just north of Yellowstone National Park is asking for approval to use wastewater to turn into artificial snow for the ski slopes.

The Yellowstone Club is asking Montana environmental quality officials to allow them to use wastewater for snow-making operations. They say it’s a win-win – they could open on time by making more snow, it would take care of the resort’s wastewater volumes, and it would save the streams and watershed. 

Supporters say it is safe, even if you wipe out and get a bunch in your face.

But others say they haven’t studied everything, like whether treatment removes pharmaceuticals and traces of prescription drugs.

About a dozen other ski resorts in the US have tried using treated wastewater to make artificial snow, though it was not without controversy at a resort near Flagstaff, Arizona a few years back.

The Yellowstone Club already uses treated wastewater to hydrate its golf courses. They say this would really be used early in the ski season to help get a base layer on the resort slopes. By December people would be skiing on natural snow.

But they would have to post signs not to consume the snow.

If they get approval, they could start in late 2022.

You can see the full report here


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