News Feature | December 9, 2016

New Technology Turns Brewery Waste Into Drinkable Water

Dominique 'Peak' Johnson

By Peak Johnson

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Wastewater seems to be a new frontier for resources around the country.

California, for example, in the face of drought, is one of a few states that has turned to recycled wastewater as a solution to its problems. In Ohio, a local entrepreneur is turning wastewater from beer making into drinkable water.

In Hamilton, Ohio, Katrina Eckard “turned pungent-smelling beer-making bi-products into drinkable water in about five minutes” in front of witnesses at Municipal Brew Works, according to the Journal-News. Eckard, the CEO of WEL Enterprise, placed “the brown waste liquid from the beer-making at Municipal Brew Works into a slim blue metal box, about five feet tall, which had a switch on the front and liquid-holding containers on each side.”

The Journal-News reported that what entered into the machine was “the worst streams coming out of the brewery,” which contained caustics, acids, and other chemicals.

Eckard promised to onlookers as the waste began to process that she would consume the water once it finished. Eckard explained that the water was so clean “that breweries theoretically could recycle the salvaged water into new beer.”

“We want to be there to make a difference, and it’s not just about enriching ourselves,” WEL’s chief engineer, Douglas LaFever, said. “It’s about completing the relationship between industry and regulatory bodies, so that we can clean up the water, and the industry doesn’t feel they’re continually penalized, and the environmental [regulators] don’t feel they’re an enemy to industry.”

Salts and minerals also can be added, to match the kind of water that consumers get out of the tap, Eckard added later.

“We can create a water profile with this machine for potable water, which is drinking water,” Eckard said. “It’s completely pure, we can make it just for your industrial process. We can literally generate whatever kind of water you want out of this treatment.”                                                                                                           

WEL Enterprise is a being assisted by the city of Hamilton’s Mill incubator program and by the region’s new Pipeline H2O program.

Rahul Bawa, who is chairman of both the Hamilton Mill and Pipeline programs, attended the demonstration, stating that “WEL Enterprise is a good example of clean-technology and water-related startups in the expanded Greater Cincinnati region.”

To read more about brewery wastewater treatment visit Water Online’s Water & Wastewater Treatment For The Food & Beverage Industry Solutions Center.                                     

Image credit: "Glass Of Water In The Sunlight, November 2010" © 2010 used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/