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Craft breweries: saviors of our water?

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“Town Crier” newsletter – Briefs from the Region (2) – 2/20/20

Waste generated by brewing beer—initially seen as a bane for wastewater treatment plants due its high concentration of yeast, hops and sugar—is now championing new, cost-effective modes of treating sewage. Just north of Big Sky, Bozeman’s more than 10 breweries create massive amounts of waste in byproducts, threatening to “throw off” wastewater treatment plant microbes necessary to curtail levels of nitrogen and phosphorous, reports North Country Public Radio. Why does this matter? The two nutrients can cause algae blooms and kill off fish in high numbers. “But if we can use [brewery waste] correctly and put it in the right spot, it’s very beneficial to the process,” engineering consultant Coralynn Revis told NCPR. The small northern Montana town of Havre has championed the process for the past three years, tapping the collaborative biological expertise shared between the brewers of Triple Dog Brewing and wastewater plant manager Michael Garrity. Without the free barley waste, the facility would need to buy some $16,000 of alum, a chemical with similar chemical properties, per year. Havre was awarded an honorable mention by the Environmental Protection Agency under their Clean Water State Revolving Fund’s Performance and Innovation in the SRF Creating Environmental Success (PISCES) program.

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