Craft brewers know that high-strength wastewater can put a burden on local treatment facilities and potentially cost money. The best way to protect the environment and the bottom line is to manage wastewater on-site before it goes down the drain.
Water & Beer is an online portal that provides breweries with learning modules on good water and by-product management practices that save money, time and the environment. The newest module – Improve Brewery Design – outlines how brewery design and equipment decisions can greatly influence the success of water management practices.
“Designing and implementing an improved wastewater management system shouldn’t be viewed as a cost, but as a foundation for cost-savings,” said Michael Fagan, Senior Vice-President of the BLOOM Centre for Sustainability.
BLOOM developed Water & Beer as a resource for craft brewers who recognize the importance of water management. Fagan said the best time to make these decisions is when planning and designing a new facility or expansion. Retrofitting later is more expensive, time consuming and disruptive.
“Designing a facility to better manage water and by-products from the brewing process in the long-run may seem like an added distraction and cost during the chaos of starting a brewery,” Fagan said. “But the payoff will be worth it when one considers the future risks and costs of not doing so from the start.”
The Improve Brewery Design module places opportunities for water management into two main categories: Drainage and Wastewater Strength Management.
- The importance of sumps to collect and measure wastewater;
- Installation of separate drains for different wastewater streams; and
- Smooth and level floors that tilt towards the drains to reduce clean up times and costs.
Wastewater Strength Management puts emphasis on reducing waste and wastewater strength before it hits the drain. This proactive approach is by far the cheapest and most effective way of lowering treatment costs.
Wastewater Strength Management discusses:
- Treating wastewater on-site through preventative practices that target composition and volume; and
- The installation of a balancing tank to handle and control fluctuations in flow rate and strength.
When it comes to proactive implementation of systems to reduce waste on site, Lake of Bays Brewing Company is a craft sector leader in Ontario. The brewery has already installed a centrifuge as part of their operation to keep yeast from going down the drain. They also plan to integrate a balancing tank into their operations to reduce concentration and pH spikes that can cause problems for the local treatment facility.
“We’re not in the business of being a wastewater treatment plant, we’re in the business of being a brewery,” said Dan Unkerskov, head brewmaster at Lake of Bays. “But we don’t want to be wasteful if we can help it. We’re going to try to do the best we can for the brewery and the people around us. We want to brew good beer and be good neighbours.”
BLOOM introduced Lake of Bays to the concept of ‘side-streaming’, or diverting high-strength wastewater contributors such as beer and spent yeast to an outside tank for disposal instead of putting it down the drain.
“We’ve saved a lot of water by doing this, saved a lot of beer and so have saved a lot of money,” said Unkerskov.
Fagan said systems and practices to reduce or even eliminate waste at source will greatly benefit communities and brewers. And for those building new brewery facilities or expanding existing operations, that initial commitment to Improve Brewery Design will start paying dividends as soon as the taps open.
This project is funded by Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.
About Water & Beer: a practical online platform designed to help craft brewers better manage their water and ingredient use. Water & Beer is the ‘go to’ resource for craft brewers who recognize that water management is important for their business, their customers and their communities. BLOOM developed Water & Beer in collaboration with Ontario Craft Brewers, individual craft breweries, government agencies, and technology and solution providers – what BLOOM calls the Collective We
About BLOOM: Making it Easier. Clean and Simple. BLOOM is a recognized and trusted authority on sustainability and resource management practices in Ontario. BLOOM works actively with Ontario industries to find practical and affordable business solutions that deliver economic, environmental and social benefits. Follow BLOOM on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
About Ontario Craft Brewers: Real People. Real Craft Beer. Ontario Craft Brewers is an association dedicated to making great tasting, high quality beer in Ontario. Ontario Craft Brewers brew their beers locally using fresh, all natural ingredients in communities throughout Ontario. Craft beer is the fastest growing segment within the LCBO’s beer category. The OCB’s long term vision is to have at least one brewery in every city and town in the province and to make Ontario a North American centre of excellence for craft brewing. Follow the OCB on Twitter @OntCraftBrewers and on Facebook.