Beer Brewed From Sewer Water? Maybe

Clean Water Services wants to see it happen in Portland
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2015 8:54 AM CST
Sewage Brewage: Firm Wants to Brew Beer From Sewer Water
Would you drink a "sewage brew"?   (AP Photo/Tim Hales)

(Newser) – There's water being turned into wine and then there's this: A Portland company wants to turn sewage into water—and then have beer brewed from that water. Clean Water Services operates four metro-area wastewater treatment plants, and it's asked the state of Oregon for the green light to give some of its treated water to a handful of home brewers, who would in turn brew on a small scale and serve their beer at events, reports OPB. "When people think about it enough it makes sense, although the initial knee-jerk reaction might be 'yuck,'" a spokesman says. "We want to start having this conversation now before we get into the drought situation that California and Texas and Australia have gotten into, so we can get the rules and safeguards in place."

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The Department of Environmental Quality is holding a public hearing in Portland next month, but even if the commission approves it in April, the state will still need to OK an amended Recycled Water Reuse Plan. Meanwhile, the Clean Water Services spokesman boasts that the treated sewage water—which goes through ultra-filtration, reverse osmosis, UV light, and an oxidizing chemical—"is the cleanest water on the planet." Home brewers don't seem to mind the notion: Last year, Clean Water Services arranged a brewing competition that involved making beer with 30% treated wastewater, and brewers are already gearing up for this summer's competition, reports KGW. (The company isn't alone: Bill Gates is getting in on a similar game.)

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