HELENA—The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has issued a permit to use reclaimed wastewater for snowmaking at the Yellowstone Club located in Madison County, Mont. The application, submitted by the Yellowstone Club, is the culmination of a community-led initiative to find sustainable ways to reuse wastewater.
The reclaimed wastewater will be used for the base layer of snowpack with additional natural or non-reclaimed artificial snow on top. DEQ reviewed the application for impacts to human health and the environment, and held the permit to stringent standards. The Yellowstone Club is required to monitor wastewater for E.coli prior to snowmaking, monitor the snow for chlorine levels and monitor nearby creeks for nutrients, ammonia and chlorophyll A.
The reuse of wastewater provides environmental benefits and protection for streams. The Yellowstone Club currently uses freshwater to create snow. By reusing wastewater, more freshwater will be kept in streams and when snow melts, springtime vegetation will use nutrients in the snow helping to alleviate nutrients from getting into streams. Excessive nutrients in streams can lead to algae and water quality issues.
“This proposal is the first permit of its kind in Montana. It has the potential to provide increased protection for streams while also providing a necessary function for the Yellowstone Club,” said Jon Kenning, DEQ water protection bureau chief. “DEQ has received an outpouring of support letters for this initiative from environmental groups, individuals and businesses in the Big Sky area.”