Alberta brewery makes beer from cleaned municipal wastewater

A Calgary brewery is hoping to convince beer lovers that an ale made from municipal wastewater is tasty and safe.

Village Brewery has teamed up with University of Calgary researchers and U.S. water technology company Xylem to create a limited-edition batch.

The water comes from the Pine Creek wastewater treatment plant by the Bow River in southeast Calgary.

Read more: Village Brewery encourages Calgarians to share ‘virtual cheers’ with friends amid COVID-19 pandemic

Partially treated water was run through an advanced purification system that involved ultrafiltration, ozone, ultraviolet light and reverse osmosis.

“There’s a mental hurdle to get over of how inherently gross this could be,” said Jeremy McLaughlin, head brewer at Village Brewery.

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“But we know that this water is safe, we know that this beer is safe, and we stand by our process.”

Alberta Health Services helped the partners come up with a safety plan and checked the reused water to make sure it met drinking water standards.

Before being sent to the brewery, the cleaned water was tested to demonstrate that it met rigorous standards outlined by AHS’ Safe Healthy Environments for water reuse, including pathogen reduction requirements, as well as Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines.

“With the right measures in place alternative water sources, such as wastewater, greywater, rooftop collected rainwater, and stormwater, can be made safe for many potable and non-potable end-uses,” said Public Health Inspector Jessica Popadynetz.

Advancing Canadian Wastewater Assets (ACWA) has partnered with Village Brewery and Xylem Inc. to brew Alberta’s first beer made with reused water. Christine O’Grady is the ACWA employee who led this project, and Jeremy McLaughlin is the Brewmaster from Village Brewery.
Advancing Canadian Wastewater Assets (ACWA) has partnered with Village Brewery and Xylem Inc. to brew Alberta’s first beer made with reused water. Christine O’Grady is the ACWA employee who led this project, and Jeremy McLaughlin is the Brewmaster from Village Brewery. Credit: Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

Project leader Christine O’Grady says the beer is sure to raise eyebrows and that the yuck factor is real.

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But she says the goal is to show people that dirty water can be made safe to drink and can help protect dwindling global drinking water supplies.

“Proper stewardship of water resources is critical to the planet’s sustainability, and water reuse can reduce the amount of freshwater required by some applications and decrease diversion from sensitive ecosystems,” O’Grady said.

Read more: Threat of exploding growlers sparks Village Brewery bottle recall

The 1,600-can batch of Village Blonde ale goes on sale Monday.

With files from Global News

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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