What Brew Can Do for You, Too

There’s an old adage “You can never buy beer, you just rent it.”

Today, at least for one Colorado city, the waste product of making beer could be used to treat the waste product created from drinking beer. From the state that features the iconic Rocky Mountains on one of their more popular export brews comes a unique plan to use byproduct of fermentation to treat municipal wastewater.  The city of Boulder is teaming up with Avery Brewing Company to use weak wort—a sugar-water brewing byproduct—to help treat municipal wastewater. Yes. Really.

The 75th Street WWTP treats an average of 12.5 million gallons of wastewater per day. Wastewater reaching the facility goes through a 20-hour, multi-stage treatment process.

Boulder’s Wastewater Treatment Facility had been searching for new ways to reduce nitrogen levels in wastewater for years. According to city Wastewater Process Optimization Specialist Cole Sigmon, this meant finding new kinds of food for the bacteria the facility uses to break down nitrogen. Those bacteria love sugar, which is why, after testing other sources, the city found Avery’s weak wort to be a great food source for them—as well as cheaper and more environmentally friendly than the industry-standard acetic acid.

Read more on City Lab.

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