Wastewater is water with “stuff” in it. For craft brewers, this “stuff” includes ingredients like grains and hops, as well as cleaning chemicals, and even lost beer that could have otherwise been sold. The other thing about wastewater – breweries make a lot of it. Surprisingly, it is their highest volume product, being up to 8-10 times more than the amount of beer they produce.
1. Ignoring it can be costly – Don’t grow the problem along with your business
Like any issue, you cannot ignore it and hope it goes away. Charges for over-strength wastewater can hit six figures annually as a brewery becomes larger. Not to mention the expensive treatment systems that may be required to deal with the high strength wastewater.
There is good news – brewers can take ownership of their wastewater. How? By reducing how much water they use and what they put down the drain. Proactively managing wastewater involves prevention and source reduction – instead of expensive end-of-pipe problems.
2. Wastewater is a great indicator of efficiency
The volume and strength of your wastewater can give you an idea of how efficient or inefficient your brewery is when it comes to water and ingredient use, and minimizing beer loss. Loosing these inputs down the drain is the same as loosing dollars. All inputs were paid for, and if not fully utilized are a wasted expense.
3. Improving water and resource management practices does not have to cost a lot
Just rethinking day-to-day operations and making simple process improvements can reduce water use and keep ingredients, by-products and beer out of the drain.
We will expand and get into detail on each of the above points in the weeks to come. To learn more about managing brewery wastewater, check out Water & Beer @ Waterandbeer.ca. It is a comprehensive water management guide for craft brewers, launching spring 2016.