Today’s Solutions: June 07, 2023

After years of drought, water recycling has become a pressing issue in California, and a water-recycling company is looking to raise awareness about the possibilities of water reuse. With the help of Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company, Epic Cleantec created a beer made from greywater recycled from a San Francisco apartment building. The result is the Epic OneWater Brew, a beer that is reportedly delicious!

Beer from Wastewater: A delicious way to spark discussions on water recycling

The goal of the project is to spark conversations and interest in water recycling, which has become necessary in California. Although it’s not available for sale, the beer is a demonstration product that showcases the untapped potential of water reuse. The current commercial regulations on recycled drinking water are strict, but with more innovation and collaboration, there are possibilities for the future. 

“We wanted to do something fun that was going to be an engaging tool to talk to people, to get them excited, but also that showcased the untapped potential of water reuse,” explained Epic Cleantec’s co-founder and CEO, Aaron Tartakovsky. For this initiative, they opted for a kölsch because they wanted to go for “a beer that was going to be sort of more universally liked versus some of the more craft beers, like an IPA, that some people like, some people don’t.”

But how does beer made from wastewater taste? Drinkers who were initially skeptical were pleasantly surprised by its crisp and drinkable taste, with no notes of shower or laundry.

The process of turning greywater into drinking water is not technologically challenging. However, the real challenge is making sure that the regulators are on the same page in terms of public health. While there are plans to turn greywater into potable products and sell them, the priority is to ensure that water recycling projects are safe and compliant. 

Tackling water scarcity one beer at a time

Epic Cleantec is working to tackle the issue of water scarcity in other ways as well. The company is running the first approved greywater recycling system in San Francisco, where buildings erected after January 1, 2022, are required to install onsite water reuse systems. Epic’s system at Fifteen Fifty, the 40-story apartment building in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood, is built to recycle 7,500 gallons a day, or 2.5 million gallons a year. 

The recent downpours across California haven’t eliminated the need for water recycling projects. According to Tartakovsky, we were given a lifeline by the rain, but it’s not a permanent fix. As we move further into the 21st century, it’s essential to recognize that relying on whether or not it rains to know if we’ll have enough water for our communities is a problem. 

So, even though beer made from wastewater might sound strange, it’s demonstrating how it could be a potential step toward a more sustainable future. It’s an engaging and fun way to start conversations on water recycling and the untapped potential of water reuse. With more companies like Epic Cleantec working to recycle greywater, we can tackle water scarcity, pint by pint.

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