Can You Make Good Beer With Sewer Water? Oregon Company Says Yes You Can

A water treatment company in Oregon says that it does such a good job of cleaning sewage that the resulting clean water could be used for human consumption rather than just irrigation and similar other purposes permitted by state law. And to prove their point, they are asking the state to let them provide brewers with recycled water for the brewing of beer.

According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, the state’s Health Authority has okayed the idea but everyone is still waiting on approval from the Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality, which is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the matter in February.

The proposal [PDF], the first of its kind to go before the Oregon DEQ, would allow the use of recycled water but only in the making of alcoholic beverages where the water is brought to a boil.

“The recycled water must first be treated to a very high quality, equally or exceeding all regulated drinking water contaminant criteria (standards) as well as other criteria for non-regulated chemicals proposed by the National Water Research Institute for potable reuse water,” reads the proposal.

Additionally, it would only apply to water supplied by Clean Water Services, the company petitioning for permission to provide the water to the brewers. Any other treatment companies would need to file separate petitions with the appropriate agencies.

Clean Water has previously organized a brewing competition using some of its treated water, but the beers made during that event only used about 30% purified wastewater. The plan now is to show you can brew a decent beer with 100% recycled water, and that people shouldn’t freak out at the idea.

“What we’re really trying to do here is start a conversation about the nature of water, and there’s no better way to start a conversation than over a beer,” a rep for the company tells OPB. “When people think about it enough it makes sense, although the initial knee-jerk reaction might be ‘yuck.’”

For now, the beer is more a proof-of-concept project to show what can be done. But Clean Water Services believes the applications for safe, recycled water could ultimately be expanded, especially in drought-prone areas.

[via PDX Eater]