Brewing up clean water

Crossposted from Clean Water Stories

dsc_0399

Beer brewing is a growing industry that creates local jobs and supports King County’s economic diversity, and now these operations are helping in our efforts to protect water quality through their commitment to responsible waste management.

There are two concerns with brewery wastewater: the concentration of waste in the water and the pH.

Imagine if all the wastewater from your house came from the garbage disposal. That would be much more concentrated than the wastewater from showers, washing machines, and toilets. Since breweries use a lot of grain pulp and yeast, their wastewater is more concentrated than average household wastewater. And if the extra “solids” in the wastewater are large enough to block a pipe, we could be in real trouble.

Brewery wastewater tends to be acidic because of the grain pulp and yeast, so large quantities can potentially affect the chemistry of our treatment system, which might lead to equipment corrosion or even water pollution problems. That’s why many sizeable commercial breweries are regulated by our Industrial Waste Program, and why King County requires them to test and monitor their wastewater, or in many cases install specialized equipment to pretreat wastewater before it goes down the drain.

Our Industrial Waste Program inspectors work closely with the breweries to make sure they’re following the best practices that produce something everyone can enjoy – clean water.

Breweries such as the Georgetown Brewery are one of many industrial facilities that work hard to control pollution and support clean and healthy waterways in King County. View more photos here.