Jan 31, 2019

California Senator Proposes Water Reuse Regulations for Breweries, Wineries

The proposed water reuse regulations aim to simplify onsite water recycling for breweries and wineries

California senator proposes water reuse bill for breweries and wineries
California senator proposes water reuse bill for breweries and wineries

California Sen. Scott Wiener proposed a bill that would require the State Water Board to create regulations for wineries and breweries for the onsite use and treatment of recycled water. The new regulations would be a collaboration between the State Water Board and the Food and Drug Branch of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), according to SF Bay News.

The proposed bill seeks to streamline the process of water reuse for wineries and breweries across the state. It would require water quality monitoring, notification and public information requirements, as well as annual reporting to the CDPH.

“Right now, although there are breweries and wineries that  are recycling water, it is too clunky of a process and they’re forced to recreate the wheel every time when they seek a permit to do it,” Wiener said. “We want the State Water Board to issue clear rules around health and safety and how you do it so that breweries and wineries that want to reuse their water know that they need to do x, y and z.”

The legislation is co-sponsored by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which already offers incentives to businesses to recycle water onsite, reports the SF Examiner. According to Weiner, recycling process water at a brewery can reduce the water needed to make a gallon of beer from 7 gal to 2.5 gal.

“As we all know from living here in the past few years, dry years and multiple year droughts are part of our California life,” said Laura Tam, SPUR’s sustainable development policy director in support of the bill. “We also know that  climate change could easily bring more severe and more frequent droughts like this in the future as well as a significant decline in water availability from the Sierra snowpack by the end of the century.”

The bill is supported by the Natural Resources Defense Council, WaterNow Alliance and SPUR. If it passes, the State Water Board will have until Dec. 1, 2025 to develop new regulations on water reuse for wineries and breweries.