Calgary beer made with treated wastewater shows potential future of water sustainability

CALGARY — The University of Calgary has teamed up with a local brewery to produce a limited edition batch of ale made from treated wastewater.
Village Brewery brewed up Village Blonde Ale, Alberta’s first beer made with reused water.

“There’s a mental hurdle to get over of how inherently gross this could be,” said Jeremy McLaughlin, head brewer at Village Brewery. “But we know that this water is safe, we know that this beer is safe, and we stand by our process.”

The U of C’s Advancing Canadian Water Assets (ACWA) treated the wastewater using tertiary treatment technologies, including advanced oxidation and nano-filtration. It was then tested to ensure it met requirements from both Alberta Health Services and Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines.

“AHS was happy to be part of this project to help develop a water safety plan and ensure the water met drinking water standards,” said Jessica Popadynetz, public health inspector of AHS.

With water scarcity becoming a global issue, ACWA is proud to champion the sustainability project. “Water reuse can reduce the amount of freshwater required by some applications and decrease diversion from sensitive ecosystems,” said Christine O’Grady, ACWA project coordinator.

ACWA and Village Brewery worked alongside Xylem Inc., an industry leader in potable reuse, who have undertaken similar projects in Europe and the U.S.

“Innovation and reuse are essential parts of the solution. Xylem is proud to partner with Advancing Canadian Wastewater Assets and Village Brewery in Calgary to demonstrate how we can all make this happen, together,” said Albert Cho, vice president and general manager of Xylem Inc. “And we’re excited to try the beer!”

The limited-edition brew of Village Blonde Ale is currently on sale at Village Brewery. An online launch of the beer will be held on Aug. 22 by ACWA, where people can learn about the process behind the beer and the importance that water reuse plays in a sustainable future.

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