Wastewater and Beers? The Innovation of Water Reuse




With our largest natural resource, water, slowing dwindling down due to supply and demand, it has become a necessity to learn how to reuse wastewater. There have been many ways companies have learned to reuse wastewater, whether it is being cleaned for drinking water or even new applications like brewing. Even though the Earth is made up of 70% water, only 2.5% is fresh water. Of that, only .007% of the fresh water is easily accessible, the rest being trapped in glaciers and snowfields.


Turning wastewater into drinking water is something that many regions that lack the resources have had to resort to. Orange County in California, for example, has been deriving drinking water from sewage since the 1970’s and now stands as an example of political conservatism for the rest of the country. With the planned expansion of their water-plant in 2023, it is expected to generate 130-million-gallons of drinking water.


Another way wastewater is being re-used is through crafting beer. Yes, you can now crack open a cold one that is made from recycled sewer water! The challenge posed with this new beverage application is overcoming the psychological and cultural challenges consumers have drinking beer with the knowledge it was once wastewater. There are a variety of different types of beer including pilsners, IPA’s, and pale ale’s, giving every beer drinker the opportunity to try their favorites!


The United States government is also beginning to recognize how pressing this problem is and is encouraging more research in water technology. The Department of Defense awarded a $3.8 million grant to Marquette University in which they found and developed a high-performance catalyst that can pull ammonia from nitrates in wastewater that results in clean water.


A new Stanford study has paved the way for mining sewage to draw out and reuse materials usually used in fertilizer and batteries for potential use in phone and airplane components. This groundbreaking research will lead to wastewater having multiple reuses that can help benefit multiple industries in the near future.


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