There's been a longstanding battle in northern Arizona over the use of faux-snow engineered from sewage "effluent," or runoff. On one side: a ski resort that wanted to use the fake snow. On the other: opponents who worried about the snow's potential health and ecological hazards. The ski resort triumphed and recently covered its grounds in the sewage-y snow, but there was one little problem: the stuff came out yellow.
Snow "guns" were used to cannon the discolored snow out onto the trails, where some people noticed the fake snow was a little, um, unconvincing. 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. The government's environmental officials haven't confirmed or denied that.
The snow does contain small amounts of chemicals--hormones, antibiotics, etc.--it's just debatable what kind of health problems those can, or will, cause. A 2005 permit approved the resort's plans for the snow, which resort officials say they need to use when less snow falls naturally. Critics of the process say it's time for another look.
A state government inspector is being sent over to look into the discoloration problem, at which point we'll find out if that whole beware-the-yellow-snow adage is right.
Imagine if there was no color problem, they project may just continue...... EW!
Following the links in the article and through the links the resort in question is the "Arizona Snowbowl" in Flagstaff Arizona. I've never been skiing myself but this particular resort makes me think I'm going to avoid Arizona.
I would hope that this stops even if they do find the coloring is only due to "rust in the pipes," if it looks like pristine white snow sitting on the ground it's usually save to eat. You don't need to be prophetic to see children especially eating it and getting seriously sick. I'd expect a heavy shower of lawsuits in the upcoming ski seasons of the Flagstaff area.
A lot of Arizona scenic picture snowy mountain post cards are suddenly being from store shelves, lol.
Having interned at a waste water treatment plant a few years back, I would have no problem skiing on snow made from that water. I am unsure of the regulations that other plants have to abide by, but I imagine they are pretty stringent. Not insulting anyone's intelligence but just to clarify effluent water from a treatment plant is water that has been cleaned and is usually being put back in some other water system. Enough chemicals are removed so the water is safe for fish etc that live in the stream/ river ect that the water is dumped into. I don't think I would feel comfortable eating it, but then again I wouldn't feel comfortable eating any snow that comes out of a snow machine.
On a side note human waste is often used to fertilize non-crop field (ie soccer fields).