State approves project to home brew beer using recycled wastewater

PORTLAND, Ore. A local utility, now approved by the state, is turning an unlikely ingredient for making beer over to a group of home brewers: 100 percent recycled wastewater.

Clean Water Services, which runs four wastewater treatment plants in the Portland metro area, asked the state last year for approval to let members of the "Oregon Brew Crew" to use recycled sewage from its Forest Grove plant to make small batches of beer.

The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission approved the request on Wednesday, but they need to get a recycled water reuse plan approved to go full-steam ahead.

"I'm trying to think of a really cool recipe. When they told us 100 percent we're like oh man, first the names than the recipe comes later. And I'm excited," said Lee Hedgmon, president of the Oregon Brew Crew.

She's one of a dozen home brewers who made beer using 30 percent purified waste water last year as a test for the project. She said the water tastes good on its own, and the beer tastes great.

Hedgmon's not concerned about any adverse effects, so to speak, resulting from beer made with 100 percent recycled waste water instead of 30 percent recycled waste water.

The Oregon Health Authority has also already approved the project finding that the water quality is high and the health risk is low.

Clean Water Services is trying to start a conversation about ways to recycle water. A spokesman believes there's no better way than to do that with beer.

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