Environmental Initiatives at Sunday River - a Never-Ending Effort
Resort Hotels, environmental leaders
The Jordan Hotel and the Grand Summit recently achieved certification through 2013 from the state of Maine Department of Environmental Protection as being an environmental leader in the hospitality sector due to comprehensive conservation efforts in administration, housekeeping, landscaping, water, and energy use. Both resort hotels are also part of the Clean the World program which helps provide soaps and personal hygiene products to those less fortunate.
Additionally, emphasis has been placed on environmentally-friendly business practices aimed at minimizing the resort's impact on the surrounding environment. Sunday River employs waterless urinals, has removed garbage disposals, uses green chemicals throughout the resort, recycles universal and electronic waste, uses energy-efficient lighting in all lodges and offices, offers toilet paper that is all recycled, uses four-stroke snowmobiles, and water-saving devices in showers and toilets. A number of other efforts have been completed or are underway, including what is listed below.
Low-flow showers and toilets have been installed in the base lodges and all condos constructed in the last 11 years. Also, a proposal is being considered to re-use shower water for flush toilets. This would result in further water savings.
Water Pressure Reductions
We adjusted all regulators to the 50-55 lb. range. Guests did not notice any difference in water pressure and we have had fewer water issues than in years past. We realized a considerable dollar savings in electricity, and reduced water usage and equipment wear and tear by implementing this adjustment. We will leave these adjustments in place and expect energy and water savings to the resort for the upcoming years ahead.
Erosion Control and On-Mountain Wastewater
Erosion control systems are in place that significantly reduce silt and run-off into nearby water sources. The on-mountain wastewater treatment plant is still expandable after 13 years in service. In an effort to reduce sludge at Sunday River's Wastewater Treatment Plant, bottom-feeding fish called were introduced into the lagoons as a natural way to reduce accumulation.
Sunday River has been steadily growing the fleet of low-energy and energy efficient snowguns, which produce the same amount of snow as traditional snow guns, but use up to 90 percent less compressed air.
Hornpout Addition to Wastewater Lagoons
120 hornpout were introduced to #1 & #2 lagoons at Sunday River. This is an experiment that we will conduct over the next few years to determine whether there will be a reduction of sludge in our system. We have successfully gas cleaned twice since, with no adverse effects visible to the fish. This species of fish feeds on the worms found in the sludge, which releases the humus material back into the aeration layers to be broken up - reducing the sludge density. These fish are very strong-willed and will grow about 1"/month in this environment.
>Mountain Cleanup Day
There is a resort-wide cleanup day that happens twice a year, during which all employees are assigned areas outside in which to clean up litter. In addition, the resort bases part of its purchasing decisions on whether products are biodegradable and whether or not the product has been recycled in the past or can be recycled when it leaves the resort.
The resort's primary goal is to decrease the volume and weight of the solid waste leaving the resort. Great strides have been made in documenting and communicating processes, which influence a cultural change within the company. Most employees are now aware of the benefits of recycling. In addition, employees take the initiative in finding environmentally friendly alternatives to land filling. Universal waste products recycled this season at the resort included 62 Ni-Cd batteries, 28 Pb batteries, and 216 fluorescent bulbs. Close to 25 tons of cardboard were recycled between January 1 and April 30. Over 62,000 plastic, glass, and aluminum bottles and cans have been collected and an additional 570 ink jet and laser cartridges were collected and donated to the local school district to be recycled in exchange for technology points. Additionally, the resort has trained its employees to recycle office paper, newspapers, magazines, and junk mail. Finally, there also are systems in place to recycle drywall, shingles, computer equipment, metal, and wood products.
The Environmental Charter for Ski Areas
The National Ski Areas Association, together with its ski area members and partnering organizations, have created an environmental charter - a set of voluntary environmental principles to aid in ski area planning, operations and outreach. The charter reaffirms the commitment ski areas have in improving environmental performance in all aspects of operations and managing their resorts, making possible their continued enjoyment by future generations - true sustainability.
What Skiers, Snowboarders, and Ski Area Guests can do to help:
Follow the Leave No Trace principles of outdoor ethics when visiting ski areas: Plan ahead and prepare, know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit, prepare for winter weather, and consider off-peak visits when scheduling your trip.
- Dispose of waste properly: Recycle your glass, plastics, aluminum and paper. Appropriate recycling receptacles are provided in all food areas. Reuse trail maps on your next visit or recycle them rather than throwing them away. Never throw trash, cigarette butts or other items from lifts.
- Respect wildlife: In summer and winter, stick to designated trails when hiking and biking to avoid disturbances to vegetation and wildlife.
- Be considerate of other guests: Respect other guests, protect the quality of their experience, and let nature's sounds prevail.
- Carpool with friends and family or use transit to avoid traffic when traveling to and within the ski area
- Turn off the lights when leaving your room and reuse bath towels and linens to help conserve energy and water.
- Provide feedback and let ski areas know how they can improve their environmental performance.