According to the Brewers Association, biological oxygen demand (BOD) in the process water from U.S. breweries averages 600 mg/L to 5,000 mg/L and can reach up to 20,000 mg/L. The high-strength wastewater can easily overload municipal wastewater treatment plants (MWWTPs) designed for domestic wastewater normally containing 150 mg/L to 200 mg/L of BOD. Thus, municipalities have set hefty discharge fees and stringent capacity restrictions, which hamper expansion of the breweries.
Lagunitas Brewing Company is an example of the breweries that suffered from economic and environmental challenges for process water management. Apart from paying local discharge costs for the relatively low-strength portion of its process water, it was forced to haul 40% or more than 50,000 gallons per day (GPD) of the high-strength streams from its Petaluma, California, facility to the East Bay Municipal Utility District, a centralized MWWTP almost 50 miles away, using more than 3,000 trucks a year.
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