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Snowmaking With Recycled Water: New Facility Could Ease Concerns

After years of water policy litigation between the Hopi Tribe and the City of Flagstaff, AZ, a new water treatment facility may resolve the fight.

The fight surrounds reclaimed wastewater used to make snow. Arizona Snowbowl, a ski resort, uses reclaimed wastewater to make about 1 percent of the snow on its mountain, The Arizona Republicreported. Native American tribes have raised concerns about how reclaimed water will affect the health of the mountain, including plant life.

But the Hopi tribal council unanimously approved a resolution supporting a brand new earthen filtration system in February, according to the Arizona Daily Sun.

The agreement over this system could “end a lawsuit the Hopi Tribe filed against the city in 2011 in which it called the city’s sale of reclaimed wastewater to Arizona Snowbowl... a public nuisance,” the Daily Sun previously reported.

A mix of “cultural considerations and science” went into the design of the system, according to the Daily Sun. “The system would further treat an average of 1.5 million gallons of reclaimed water per day before it is delivered to Arizona Snowbowl for use on the ski slopes during the winter.”

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