Pure Water Brew Boise launches pilot program that converts wastewater into drinking water

Posted at 4:12 PM, Aug 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-29 19:55:35-04

A state of the art water purification trailer from Arizona is turning treated wastewater from the Lander Street Renewal Facility into drinking water that will go to five local breweries.

People in Boise use millions of gallons of water that ends up being treated and returned to the Boise River, city leaders are looking into different ways to recycle that water.

"We want to be proactive in how we think about water and talk about water," said Haley Falconer the Environmental Manager for the Boise Public Works Department. “We are here to change the conversation about water and we want folks to see this project."

It's an innovative five-step process to turn brown water into drinking water with a higher standard than normal drinking water.

It starts with ultrafiltration that eliminates 99.99 percent of the bacteria and waterborne viruses, then the water goes through a process called reverse osmosis to get rid of metals, minerals and salts.

The UV/Advanced oxidation breaks down molecules that make it past the first two stages and separates carbon bonds that get absorbed in the fourth step of the process, samples get tested after each step.

“Then we add a little dose of chlorine because we are filling up tankers before we go to those brewers," said Jeff Prevatt from the Pima County, Arizona Wastewater Reclamation. "It is the future of our utilities, purifying water and utilizing the best of our local resources.”

The water will be taken to Barbarian Brewing, Lost Grove Brewing, Longdrop Cider and Mad Swede Brewing where the purified water will be used to brew beer and cider.

“I would say water is the most essential part of brewing beer, it makes up 90 percent of the beer itself," said Jacob Black the owner of Lost Grove. "Depending on the makeup of the water it is also going to affect the flavor profile as well.”

Black said he feels fortunate to be one of the four breweries selected after filling out a survey with the City of Boise and looks forward to seeing what his brewery can create with this new water.

"To have a fully recycled product, we thought was pretty cool," said Black.

For the city of Boise, this project is a test to see how the community responds to different types of options for the future of water in Boise.

"We want to do that in a proactive way and not wait for a potential water crisis and then try to change that conversation." 

Boise will hold a gathering where the public can check out the purification trailer at the Lander Street Water Renewal Facility on Thursday evening starting at 5:00 p.m.