Wastewater isn't exactly a glamorous subject, but Australian households produce an average of 250 litres of it per day, according to a report from the Queensland Government. Wastewater treatment is absolutely essential to the ecosystem because water is not an infinite resource. The Earth naturally reuses its water, but the volume of waste produced by humanity is too large for the planet to recycle it.
Treatment of wastewater removes the majority of contaminants to that the water may be returned to its natural cycle (where nature removes the last of the contaminants) or use it for alternative purposes such as toilet water. Those alternative purposes have included some very clever ideas but perhaps none more so than one from a group of breweries based in Colorado.
Turning recycled wastewater into liquid gold?
Three breweries from Denver, Colorado have partnered with engineering firm CH2M to produce a beer brewed from recycled water. If that statement is somewhat unsettling, fear not, the water has been purified via direct potable reuse (DPR), a process that makes this water 100 per cent safe to drink. By partnering with the breweries, CH2M hopes to alleviate the stigma of recycled water by promoting it through something everyone loves - a brew.
A 330ml bottle of beer requires a little more than a litre and a half of water to produce. Is this the best use of fresh water?
The water used in the beer was sourced from nearby reclamation plants and subject to CH2M's pioneering wastewater treatment. This multi-barrier purification process includes ultra-filtration, reverse osmosis, ultraviolet disinfection with advanced oxidation, as well as activated carbon filtration and chlorine disinfection. If that sounds complex, it's because it is. A 330ml bottle of beer requires a little more than a litre and a half of water to produce. Given the finite supply of this natural resource, recycled wastewater that is safe for consumption has huge implications for communities both small and large.
How could this benefit Australia?
Australians consume around 75 million litres of beer a year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Based on the aforementioned ratios, this means we use 375 million litres of clean water to produce our cold ones every year.
While Australia has far less people without access to clean water than you will find in less developed parts of the world, there are still remote communities that are vulnerable. Just last year there were concerns about Yuelamu, NT and Pandanus Park, WA. While these were newsworthy stories, they were not isolated incidents. If even a small portion of the estimated 375 million litres of water reserved for beer were offset by reuse, we could provide our most vulnerable with safe drinking water.
Webforge proudly supplies environmentally suitable materials for treatment plants in Australia. For more information, get in touch today.