Sewage-to-Snow May Breed Resistant Bacteria

Snowbowl recycling plan could be in trouble

Ryan O'Hanlon

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The sewage water Arizona’s Snowbowl ski resort plans to use to make snow this winter is also a breeding ground for antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to recent research. Despite protests from local Native American groups, the Flagstaff resort won a legal battle giving them the go-ahead to use recycled wastewater from a local plant for artificial snow. (Recycled wastewater is also used to irrigate golf courses and soccer fields.) Research from a group at Virginia Tech, however, found antibiotic-resistant genes in the Flagstaff plant’s water at various points of distribution, like sprinkler heads. The genes were not found in the plant, which suggests that bacteria is growing in the distribution pipes. The next step, according to the study, is to analyze the bacteria and see whether or not the water contains any antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

Via New York Times

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