Over the years, the Big Sky community in Montana has experienced exponential growth. So much so that city leaders have been looking at creative ways to reuse wastewater. After a successful attempt at irrigating golf courses in the Big Sky and Yellowstone areas, officials are now setting their sights on artificial snow.

According to Chelsi Moy, public relations director of a popular ski resort in Montana, reusing wastewater isn’t anything new to the state of Montana. “For some time now, the Big Sky has been a 100 percent wastewater recycle community,” says Moy. “Enhanced irrigation is one preferred solution and another is snowmaking. We know this is an option because it’s been done elsewhere in the country. It’s a long-term solution as opposed to a short-term solution.”

But before the wastewater can be reused, it must first be treated and meet the standards set forth by the Montana Department of Environmental Equality. “There would have to be testing involved at the wastewater treatment plant to get the levels to where they need to be,” said Ron Edwards, general manager of Big Sky Water and Sewer District 363. “We are essentially trying to meet the same standards as drinking water.”