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Sep 01
Sep 01

Residents turn up the heat on City of Flagstaff sale of Reclaimed Water Snow at Snowbowl and McMillan Mesa

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reclaimed-water-signIn recent weeks the local residents of Flagstaff have started a groundswell at City Council meetings. Insisting to talk about the issue of snow making using reclaimed water. The new lawsuit the Hopi have brought against the city has finally brought health and Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Regulations to the forefront of the issue and for two meetings in a row numerous flagstaff residents have shown up at Flagstaff City Council meetings to show support for the Hopi lawsuit.

* There are a few public comments at the end of the meeting, with none in favor of the idea. The rest of the meeting is a city staff presentation that is highly informative.

The complicity of the AZ Daily Sun and Phoenix mainstream media such as ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX in spending the last eight years sweeping the health and state law concerns under the rug has created a void in factual information regarding the legality of skiing or sledding on snow made with reclaimed water. Because the press didn't have a close look at the law or the water contract it was easy for all the government agencies to just look the other way and pretend "snowmaking" was the only part of the environmental health code they had to follow. In fact a case could be made that the press hid information about this and went out of their way to make this a "native" issue and helped fan the flames of racism over the years.

That they have been able to hide such simple facts in plain view all these years has always amazed me. It is very simple. The city has signs posted wherever they irrigate with reclaimed water that say you cannot drink the water and you cannot wash your hands with the water. How could you possibly be allowed to ski or sled in this water? I do not see a way to not get soaked with reclaimed water while sledding on it. If you have ever went sledding, you know how much snow gets in your eyes, nose, ears, mouth, and all over your skin. No scientist is needed to prove this. How does turning it into snow make it magically delicious?

There is ample proof available from Arizona Department of Environmental Quality that no litmus test has ever been applied to skiing or sledding on reclaimed water snow. In a polling of the few states that have laws regarding snowmaking with sewage effluent, it has only ever even been discussed as a measure to deal with liquified pig poop from industrial farming facilities in very cold climates, never to ski or sled on. The very research ADEQ relies on in their 5 pages of "research" is a product called "snowfluent" which is used solely to manage raw sewage in freezing climates where piping the waste away in winter is not possible due to freezing.

In light of the fact that as of right now the City of Flagstaff, the US Forest Service, and the State of Arizona are quite unwilling to open their own book of laws and follow them, it seems the only thing left to do is turn up the heat on all the responsible parties. We have a responsibility to go to every meeting and insist they follow the laws of the state. Insist they respect the communities they are responsible to. Insist that public health come before the profit of one small industry. Call and email them daily until they are forced to see the whole community and how deeply this decision effects us all, not just the private business they are working so hard to protect.

Written by Rudy Preston