TSD Environomics | Midwest Regional Brewers Conference – Wastewater BOD Removal
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Midwest Regional Brewers Conference – Wastewater BOD Removal


The Cold Beer Tent!

I had the opportunity to meet with a great bunch of brewers in Wisconsin a few weeks ago when I presented on Dow’s Bio-Tower  technology for wastewater treatment at the Midwest Regional Brewer’s Conference and Ice Cold Beer Fest.  What a great group of people!  Special thanks to Mark Garthwaite of the Wisconsin Brewers Guild for the invite and all of the folks at the conference for their hospitality!

Here is a list of the Attending Breweries:

Ale Asylum, Angry Minnow, Aqualand Ale House, Bare Bones Brewery, Barley John’s Brewing Co., Bull Falls Brewery, Capital Brewery, Door County Brewing Co, Fox River Brewery, Great Dane Pub & Brewing Company, Hinterland, House of Brews, Karben4 Brewing, Lake Louie Brewing, MKE Brewing Co., MobCraft Beer, Minocqua Brewing Company, New Glarus Brewing Co, Northwoods brewing, O’so Brewing Co, Oliphant Brewing, Pearl Street Brewery, Pigeon River Brewing Co., Red Eye Brewing Company, Rocky Reef Brewing Company, Sand Creek Brewing Co, Shipwrecked Brewpub, South Shore Brewery, Sprecher Brewing Company, St. Francis Brewing Co., Stevens Point Brewery, Stillmank Brewing Company, Stone Arch Brew House, Titletown Brewing Co, Tribute Brewing Co., Vintage Brewing Company, Wisconsin Brewing Company, Wisconsin Dells Brewing Company

We talked extensively about the challenges faced by small brewers in trying to understand and meet limits imposed by regulators on the wastewater generated from brewing operations. Whether  the need to treat is motivated by regulations (permit limits) or finances (surcharge), it is critical to understand the volume and characteristics f the wastewater you generate before planning a facility or pursuing permits from regulators.

Based on my discussions with many small brewers, the additional charges imposed on high-strength wastewater by Cities andSurcharge Graph
Authorities is the key driver to implementing some type of treatment.  Surcharges on wastewater are very dependent on location – the numbers are all over the place.  The chart to the left shows a  bit of the variability in surcharge for BOD from location to location in Oregon.  For the average small brewer generating 1,000 to 5,000 gpd of wastewater, these charges can range form $10,000 to well over $50,000/yr on top of the regular surcharges.  Removal of the total suspended solids (TSS) from the wastewater can be pretty easy and relatively cheap. However, removing the organic load or BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand) can be pretty tough.

BODBOD Removal – Very tough to do on a small scale.  This is where the Dow Bio-Tower comes in.  The modular towers contain a unique fabric that enhances microbial growth and serves as a mechanism for converting BOD to biomass (solids).  Because of the very low solids generation rate, the installation of one or two of the Dow Bio-Towers will usually remove up to 90+% of the soluble BOD in the wastewater.  Simple, robust and cost effective.  After my presentation (over a few beers), we talked about the installation of treatment systems and some of the leg-work that needed to be done in order to determine the best way to treat brewery wastewater – if any wastewater treatment makes sense.


Dow Bio-Tower

In most cases, brewery wastewater can be treated with about one Tower for every 1500-2000 gallons of wastewater generated each day, as long as most of the solids are removed first.  Each Tower has about a 4’x4′ footprint and can easily be moved around with a fork truck.  We ran a couple of pilot studies showing up to 98% removal of BOD through a single Tower. Quite impressive!

Of course, the first step in determining the need to treat your wastewater is getting a good handle on the volume and characteristics 0f the wastewater you are generating now and what you expect to be doing in the near future.  Also, you need to be clear on the regulations that apply to your facility and the costs for disposal of wastewater at various strengths.

All of this can be pretty confusing and varies dramatically form location to location.  Feel free to give us a call for help in figuring all of this out, we can give you some good ideas on how to navigate the path to wastewater treatment – if treatments needed at all.

We can be reached at (207)-657-9255 or drop me an e-mail at tsdanforth@tsdenviro.com.


Here is a link to the presentation i made in “PDF” format for any who want to down load it:

Midwest Brewer’s Conference Presentation


Also, I know many enjoyed the “Sustainable Beer Smackdown” video. Click between the quotes to view it.

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