By Andrew Amiri, Neil Sosebee and Derek Davy

Over 4,500 licensed craft brewers are revitalizing small towns across North America, with revenues estimated at more than CDN$30 billion per year. As one of the fastest growing sectors of the food and beverage industry, small breweries are supporting local economies, creating jobs and contributing to tourism. At the same time, craft brewery wastewater is creating a challenge for aging wastewater treatment infrastructure.

Craft brewery wastewater challenges

It is common for craft breweries to create five to ten times more wastewater than the beer they package and sell. The impact of this on a wastewater treatment plant can be equivalent to 10,000 – 20,000 people. For most small towns, the municipal plant is not designed to handle that much load. Municipalities are faced with the difficult decision of supporting growth in a local business or imposing fines to cover the cost of treating this high strength wastewater.

In 2015, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, through the Bloom Centre for Sustainability, engaged Econse Water Purification Systems to design a wastewater treatment system that could meet the specific needs of the craft brewing industry. After pilot testing at four craft breweries in Ontario, Econse introduced their Brü Clean System at the recent Ontario Centres of Excellence – OCE Discovery conference in Toronto.

Brü Clean is a modular, chemical-free system designed for easy installation and maintenance, making wastewater management simple and efficient for craft breweries. It overcomes a variety of challenges in this sector, such as: