Colorado company turning wastewater into beer

Global Business

In some countries and individual communities, fresh drinking water is in short supply. But, strange as it may sound, recycled wastewater offers one potential solution.

Engineers teaming up with beer brewers proved that point recently in the U.S. state of Colorado.

CGTN’s Hendrik Sybrandy reports.

Engineers teaming up with beer brewers proved that point recently outside the Colorado firm CH2M as company employees were treated to beer made with recycled wastewater.

“It’s fairly unusual,” Larry Schimmoller, CH2M Global Technology Leader said. “The idea is to educate the public on how we can safely produce potable water from wastewater effluent.”

Schimmoller, a water reuse specialist with CH2M, helped design a technology-packed trailer which took wastewater from Pima County, Arizona and ran it through a multi-step purification process.

All the organics, bacteria and metals in the water were removed. Three Colorado brewers took 1250 liters of water and did the rest. “People say toilet to tap,” Jeff Prevatt, Pima County Research and Innovation Leader said. “We say toilet to fantastic.”

Prevatt’s motto may take some getting used to if you’re a beer drinker.

“At first they’re kind of like whoa,” Tina Pachorek, Lost Highway Brewing Co. Owner, referring to her customers, said. “Then we have to explain that the water was cleaner than any water they probably ever drank before we even started.”

Direct potable reuse water, as it’s called, may be an acquired taste.

“We just need to convince the public this is a safe approach,” said Schimmoler. “And the way we do that is by treating beer and encouraging people to taste it and see that it’s just like any bottled water or water you get out of your tap.”