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3 Denver breweries on tap to brew Colorado's first beer from recycled water

Colorado-based engineering firm CH2M is changing the way we think about water. On Thurs., Sept. 14, direct potable reuse (DPR) purified water arrived at three breweries earmarked to become Colorado’s first to produce craft beer from recycled water.

CH2M is spearheading the effort to drive sustainable water reuse technology and to build public acceptance of recycled water, by transforming recycled water into purified water suitable for beer-making and drinking.

Metro-Denver brewing companies Lone Tree Brewing Company, Lost Highway Brewing Company and 105 West Brewing Company, received a total of 330 gallons of direct potable reuse water produced by a mobile advanced water treatment plant in part designed by CH2M in conjunction with Pima County, Arizona, and other participating entities. Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department will be driving the mobile plant to Denver for a special viewing at CH2M’s global headquarters on October 13.

“Direct potable reuse is a real solution for stressed water supplies and for future-proofing water resources for resilient cities,” said CH2M Reuse Technology Director Larry Schimmoller. “By applying this technology to something our state loves – local craft beer – we’re highlighting the positive impacts recycled water can have in communities, and helping build public support for similar initiatives.”

ReuseFest Infographic

Download "A toast to reuse" infographic.

Follow the reuse journey

  • Sept. 7 – Reclaimed water from Pima County's Agua Nueva Water Reclamation Facility pumped into treatment trailer to be purified to drinking water standards.
  • Sept. 7 – Six drums (55 gallons/drum) of purified reclaimed water leave Pima County for Colorado.
  • Sept. 14 – Breweries receive recycled water and can begin brewing process.
  • Sept. 17 – Brewing in progress.
  • Oct. 13 – Special batches of recycled craft brews served at CH2M-hosted ReuseFest.

“On average, it takes 60 ounces of water to brew just 12-ounces of beer, something our customers probably don’t realize when they reach for that beer bottle. With water under increasing demand, we want to do our part to build a sustainable future, and that’s why we excitedly accepted this opportunity with CH2M,” said Tina Pachorek, CEO Lost Highway Brewing Company.

In 2015 CH2M was named the Stockholm Industry Award Winner for transforming the practice and perception of wastewater. By pioneering the third step of wastewater treatment, the company challenged the concept of wastewater by showing that just because water has been used it doesn’t have to be wasted.

Said Schimmoller, “It’s our hope, and the hope of our partner breweries, that when our guests get a taste of these special batches of ReuseFest beer, their perceptions of water reuse will change for the better as they simply enjoy a great tasting beer. We appreciate the breweries donating their time and beer to help raise awareness and acceptance of DPR water.”

Learn the water reuse process

During the first week of September, reclaimed water from Pima County’s Agua Nueva Water Reclamation Facility was pumped into a treatment trailer. Once in the trailer, it got purified using a multi-barrier purification process including ultra-filtration, reverse osmosis, ultraviolet disinfection with advanced oxidation, activated carbon filtration and chlorine disinfection to transform recycled community wastewater into pure drinking water.

At CH2M’s ReuseFest on Oct. 13, invited guests will have the opportunity to tour the treatment trailer, hear from CH2M technology leaders and of course, taste the final products at the private Oktoberfest-themed educational event.

Meet reuse leader, CH2M

For more than 50 years, CH2M has led the industry in potable reuse, in fact, the company won the Stockholm Industry Water Award for pioneering potable reuse and public acceptance. The landmark work CH2M led with Denver Water and Singapore's Public Utilities Board in the 1980s and 1990s paved the way for the direct potable reuse operations being planned and executed today. Today, the company partners with utilities and agencies around the globe at the forefront of water reuse technology advancement.

Learn about AZ Pure Water Brew Challenge

The Arizona Community Foundation launched the Water Innovation Challenge to address future water needs within the state and posted a $250,000 prize for the winning entry. The AZ Pure Water Brew Challenge is a statewide campaign to better inform Arizonans about water issues, water reuse and technologies currently available to purify recycled wastewater producing safe, high-quality drinking water. To help spread the word, a total of 26 brewers throughout the state produced beer with the Pure Water and competed for prizes at the AZ Pure Brew Challenge in September 2017 at the National WateReuse Symposium. CH2M’s ReuseFest is an extension of the AZ Pure Water Brew Challenge. For more information please visit the website *AZ Pure Water Brew Challenge Partners include: AquaTecture, Arizona Community Foundation, AZ Water, Carollo, CH2M, City of Flagstaff, City of Phoenix, Clean Water Services, Dow Water & Process Solutions, Garver, GE, Grundfos, Hach, HDR, Penske, Pima County Wastewater Reclamation, Sensorex, Town of Marana, TrojanUV, Tucson Water, ​​University of Arizona, Water Now Alliance, WateReuse Arizona, Wigen Water Technologies, Xylem.

About CH2M

CH2M leads the professional services industry delivering sustainable solutions benefiting societal, environmental and economic outcomes with the development of infrastructure and industry. In this way, CH2Mers make a positive difference providing consulting, design, engineering and management services for clients needing world-class solutions in environmental; industrial and advanced facilities; transportation; and water markets, from iconic infrastructure to global programs like the Olympic Games.

Ranked among the World's Most Ethical Companies and top firms in environmental consulting and program management, CH2M in 2016 became the first professional services firm honored with the World Environment Center Gold Medal Award for efforts advancing sustainable development. Connect with CH2M at; LinkedIn; Twitter; and Facebook.