Would You Drink Beer Made from Recycled Water?

Tetra Tech is helping treat wastewater to drinking water standards—or in this case, beer-making standards.

Tetra Tech collaborated with Hillsborough County, the WateReuse Association, Xylem, and SUEZ (formerly General Electric) to design, build, and operate a direct potable reuse pilot purification process that can treat reclaimed effluent wastewater to comply with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) drinking water standards. At the Falkenburg Wastewater Treatment Facility in Hillsborough County, Tetra Tech’s innovative design for the pilot system put water through a fully advanced treatment purification process so Tampa Bay homebrewers could use the purified water to create craft beers. The beer made from the purified water was judged and sampled by hundreds of attendees at the annual WateReuse Symposium in September 2016.

Tetra Tech assisted in constructing and operating the full advanced treatment pilot purification process, which consisted of ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis (RO), and advanced oxidation with ultraviolet light. These processes, which were operated in batch mode over the course of a week, produced approximately 1,000 gallons of purified water. It took approximately four months of planning, design, and sample preparation leading up to the three-day collection period. The purified water was tested for primary and secondary drinking water standards, non-regulated microconstituents, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products.

Results from the water quality monitoring revealed that the purified water produced from the pilot purification process met and/or exceeded all principal standard maximum contaminant levels (MCL) set at the federal and state levels. Additionally, the purified water met all numerical secondary drinking water standards and MCLs. The federal drinking water MCLs are set up by U.S. EPA and adopted by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Learn more about creating beer with purified water by watching the WateReuse Florida video.