Portland brewers to make beer with treated sewage

Ore. brewer uses sewer water to craft beer

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Oregon is known for specialty beers. But what about a beer made with sewer water?

It's what some local home-brewers will be doing this summer.

Jeremie Landers will be one of them. He's been home-brewing for nearly a decade.

He's even converted the garage of his North Portland home into a taproom.

"I love the experimentation process," he said.

Which is why this summer, Landers will be one of more than a dozen local home brewers taking part in a unique experiment.

Instead of using normal tap water to make their beer, the brewers will be using what was once sewer water.

The water comes straight from the treatment plant.

It's all part of a competition Washington County's Clean Water Services is putting on to demonstrate different uses for its recycled water.

"Is there another use we can use for it to meet our long-term water needs? Oregon needs to be thinking about that," said Mark Jockers with Clean Water Services.

The agency says a special purification system is able to make sewer water even cleaner than your typical drinking water.

"The water that comes from the high purity water system is the cleanest water on the planet," said Jockers.

And when it comes to making beer, the purer the water, the better the brew.

"If you're starting with absolute zero you can add a lot more in and get a lot more creativity with it then, let's say, you were using Bull Run water," explained Landers.

It's been jokingly called "sewage brewage."

But don't expect to be finding the beverage on store shelves anytime soon.

The competition this summer is just for fun.

The Department of Environmental Quality allows recycled water to be used for drinking purposes, but only if it goes through a specific process that includes approval from state and national agencies, as well as a public hearing. State officials told KGW the brewers are following this process.


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