Globally buildings use 14% of drinking water on laundry and toilet flushing and do not recycle that water. Polluted water can be treated to remove contaminants, so recycled wastewater can be helpful for various purposes. Treated wastewater can be reused in many ways, such as laundry, agriculture, toilet flushing, construction site, etc.
The water can also be purified to a high level that meets or exceeds federal drinking water quality standards. This recycled water is safe to drink and often cleaner than many water sources we usually use. Yet people hesitate to drink this highly treated potable wastewater.
To overcome the public’s hesitation and promote the use of wastewater, San Francisco-based startup Epic Cleantec, with its brewing partners at Devil’s Canyon Brewing Co., has made Epic OneWater Brew. It is a Kölsch-style ale brewed with recycled water from the showers, sinks, and washing machines of Fifteen Fifty, a 40-story residential building.
Epic Cleantec is a water recycling technology company that provides wastewater treatment and recycling systems that eliminate the need to send wastewater to a sewer to transport it to a remote treatment facility.
Fifteen Fifty is a 40-story luxury high-rise apartment building in San Francisco with a greywater reuse system designed to recycle 7,500 gallons daily or 2.75 million gallons yearly. This greywater, mainly collected from laundry and showers, is treated to exceptional standards and reused for toilet and urine flushing in the building.
Collected greywater is stored in a prefiltration and equalization tank that buffers the flow, reducing the size of the downstream system. The raw water then undergoes biological treatment to remove biological oxygen demand (BOD). The water is then rigorously filtered through a membrane with a nominal pore diameter of 0.04 microns.
This water then goes through several stages of disinfection by UV light and chlorine, making the water safe for reuse in non-drinkable applications.
If heat recovery is included, the system will extract energy from the wastewater and use it to pre-heat domestic hot water, resulting in lower heating costs for the building.
According to the company, the system recycles up to 95% of wastewater, including blackwater from toilets or greywater from sinks, washing machines, bathtubs, and showers.
In September 2022, Epic Cleantec shipped over 2,000 gallons of recycled water to Devils Canyon Brewing Co. and began its two-week transformation into beer. By the end of the next month, the brewing process was complete. The Epic brew was commercially canned and labeled with the silhouette of the Fifteen Fifty building.
Epic OneWater Brew beer is safe to drink. However, beer is not available to buy, as regulations prohibit using recycled wastewater in commercial beverages.