Tata & Howard Receives ZweigGroup Fast Growth Award for 2016

Tata & Howard Receives ZweigGroup Fast Growth Award for 2016


Tata & Howard, Inc. is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a Zweig Group Fast Growth Award for 2016. The award is based on both revenue and firm growth over the previous three-year period.

“We are thrilled to receive a Fast Growth Award from Zweig Group,” said Jenna Rzasa, P.E., Vice President and Manager of Finance of Tata & Howard. “Our record growth over the past few years can be attributed to many factors, including new clients and projects, existing client care, and our highly capable and skilled staff.”

Contributing to its record growth, Tata & Howard acquired Leach Engineering Consultants of St. Johnsbury, Vermont in 2013 and Roald Haestad, Inc. of Waterbury, Connecticut in 2014, and opened its newest satellite office in Austin, Texas in 2015. The firm also nearly doubled its staff.

“We are honored to be recognized as one of the fastest growing, privately owned engineering companies in the nation,” added Karen Gracey, P.E., Vice President and Manager of Business Development. “Our strong team atmosphere combined with our talented and dedicated staff enables Tata & Howard to consistently provide superior service and solutions to our clients, which is why we continue to experience such unprecedented growth.”

Zweig Group, an organization that provides market research reports, seminars and executive education offerings, business conferences, and management consulting services to architecture, engineering, and environmental consulting firms, sponsors the award and will recognize Tata & Howard at its 2016 Zweig Group Hot Firm and A/E Industry Awards Conference. The conference will be held September 22-23 at the Arizona Biltmore.


The 10 Largest Reservoirs in the United States

Fort Randall Dam, Lake Francis Case
Fort Randall Dam, Lake Francis Case

10. Lake Francis Case, South Dakota

Lake Francis Case, named after former South Dakota Senator Francis Higbee Case, has a total capacity of 3,800,000 acre-feet, stretches over 100 miles, has a shoreline of 540 miles, an area of 102,000 acres, and a maximum depth of 140 feet. It is impounded by the Fort Randall Dam on the Missouri River in south-central South Dakota and it provides water supply, hydroelectric power, recreation, and an abundant, rich habitat for local wildlife. In fact, Lake Francis Case is home to one of the largest wintering populations of bald and golden eagles.

Authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1944 and built next to Old Fort Randall, a military fort built in 1856, Fort Randall Dam is an earthen embankment dam that underwent construction by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1946. In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower flipped the switch that started the first power generating unit, and the project was officially completed in 1956 at a cost of about $200 million.

Sabine River Authority State of Louisiana – Observation Area near Toledo Bend Dam
Sabine River Authority State of Louisiana – Observation Area near Toledo Bend Dam

9. Toledo Bend Lake, Louisiana and Texas

With a total area of about 205,000 acres in both Louisiana and Texas and providing water supply, hydroelectric power, and a plethora of recreational uses, Toledo Bend Lake is the largest human-made body of water in the south and the ninth largest in the United States. Impounded by the Toledo Bend Dam, Toledo Bend Reservoir has a storage capacity of 4,477,000 acre-feet, is 15 miles across at its widest point, has an average depth of 60 feet, is 1,264 miles of shoreline, and its two hydroelectric power generators have an estimated annual energy output of 205 million kilowatt-hours.

In 1949 and 1950 respectively, realizing a need to provide for the future, the Texas and Louisiana State Legislatures each formed their own Sabine River Authority in an effort to both conserve and develop the Sabine River Basin. In the 1950s, the two organizations worked together to come up with the idea of Toledo Bend Lake, and feasibility studies indicated that the project would be a success. Land acquisition and construction took place in the 1960s, and the project was completed in 1969. The total cost, including the land, dam and spillway, powerhouse, new roads and bridges, and the clearing of shorelines, was $70 million. Due to cooperation from investor-owned companies Gulf States Utilities Company, Louisiana Power and Light Company, and Central Louisiana Electric Company, the Toledo Bend Reservoir project did not have federal funding in its permanent financing – the only public water conservation and hydroelectric project to boast such a statistic.

Shasta Dam, Lake Shasta
Shasta Dam, Lake Shasta

8. Lake Shasta, California

With a total capacity of 4,552,000 acre-feet, an elevation of 1,067 feet, 365 miles of mostly mountainous shoreline, and a maximum depth of 517 feet, Lake Shasta is California’s largest reservoir and the eighth largest in the United States. Lake Shasta is impounded by the Shasta Dam, a concrete arch gravity dam across the Sacramento River that stands 602 feet tall, making it the eighth tallest dam in the United States. Operated by the Bureau of Reclamation, the reservoir provides water storage, flood control, hydroelectricity, and protection against the intrusion of salt water.

The Shasta Power Plant contains five huge generators capable of producing 710 megawatts, and recent upgrades have increased their efficiency rating to 98%. Originally built to control the waters of the Sacramento, the McCloud, and the Pit Rivers, the reservoir has since become one of the most popular vacation spots in the western United States. Providing thousands of jobs for people still suffering from the Great Depression, construction on the dam began in 1935 and was completed in 1945.

Libby Dam, Lake Koocanusa
Libby Dam, Lake Koocanusa

7. Lake Koocanusa, Montana

Impounded by the Libby Dam on the Kootenay River, Lake Koocanusa has a total capacity of 5,809,000 acre-feet, stretches 90 miles on the northern part of Montana and into British Columbia, Canada, and has a maximum depth of 370 feet. The reservoir provides water supply to both the United States and Canada, as well as hydroelectric power, flood protection, and wildlife habitat.

Operated by the Army Corps of Engineers in the United States, construction of the Libby Dam was a joint cooperative venture between the U.S. and Canada that began in 1966 and was completed in 1972. The Libby Dam is a concrete gravity dam that stands 422 feet tall and has a gated overflow spillway. The dam’s powerhouse contains five turbines and can generate up to 600 megawatts of power.

Grand Coulee Dam, Lake Franklin
Grand Coulee Dam, Lake Franklin

6. Franklin D. Roosevelt Reservoir (Lake Franklin), Washington

With a total capacity of 9,562,000 acre-feet, Lake Franklin is the largest reservoir and lake in Washington state and the sixth largest in the nation. Impounded by the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River, Lake Franklin covers 125 square miles, has over 600 miles of shoreline, and stretches about 150 miles from the Canadian border to the Grand Coulee Dam. The reservoir provides water supply, hydroelectric power, wildlife habitat, and recreation.

Constructed between 1933 and 1941 and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation, the Grand Coulee dam is a concrete gravity dam that stands 550 feet tall, stretches almost one-mile long, and has a drum gate spillway. Originally constructed with two power plants, a third power station was added in 1974, and it is now the largest electric power-producing facility in the United States.

Fort Peck Dam, Fort Peck Lake
Fort Peck Dam, Fort Peck Lake

5. Fort Peck Lake, Montana

Boasting a 1,520-mile long shoreline that is longer than the entire coastline of California, Fort Peck Lake stretches 134 miles through central Montana, has a total capacity of 15,400,000 acre-feet, covers an area of approximately 245,000 acres, and has a maximum depth of 220 feet. Impounded by the Fort Peck Dam on the Missouri River, Fort Peck Lake provides water quality management, flood control, and hydroelectric power. It also lies within the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge and is home to a plethora of fish and game.

Operated by the Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Peck Dam was a major project of the Public Works Administration as part of the New Deal. The dam was constructed from 1933 to 1943 and the project employed tens of thousands of people. Fort Peck Dam is an art deco hydraulic earthfill dam that stands 250 feet tall, has a controlled overflow spillway with eight bulkhead gates, and has five generating units with a capacity of 185 megawatts. The dam was added to the National Register of Historic places in 1986 and is the largest hydraulically filled dam in the United States. It is also the second largest dam in the world by structure volume, second only to the Tarbela Dam in Pakistan.

Garrison Dam, Lake Sakakawea
Garrison Dam, Lake Sakakawea

4. Lake Sakakawea, North Dakota

Impounded by the Garrison Dam on the Missouri River, Lake Sakakawea has a surface area of 307,000 acres, maximum depth of 180 feet, a shoreline of 1,320 miles, and a total capacity of 18,500,000 acre-feet. It is the largest human-made lake in North Dakota and the fourth largest in the United States. Originally constructed for flood control, navigation, irrigation, and hydroelectric power, the project was constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers between 1947 and 1953 and cost approximately $300 million.

Garrison Dam is an earthfill embankment dam that stretches almost two miles in length, stands 210 feet tall, generates 583 megawatts of power, and has a service spillway with 28 controlled gates. It is the fifth largest earthen dam in the world.

Oahe Dam at night, Lake Oahe; photo courtesy of Ashely Lieberman Hughes
Oahe Dam at night, Lake Oahe; photo courtesy of Ashely Lieberman Hughes

3. Lake Oahe, South Dakota

With a surface area of 374,000 acres and a total capacity of 19,300,000 acre-feet, Lake Oahe stretches for 231 miles through South Dakota and is the third largest reservoir in the United States. It provides flood control, irrigation, hydroelectric power, recreation, wildlife habitat, and navigation benefits,

Authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1944, the Oahe Dam underwent construction in 1948 by the Army Corps of Engineers. In 1952, the world’s first rock tunnel boring machine (TBM) was invented specifically for the Oahe Dam project. The significance of James S. Robbins’ TBM invention cannot be overlooked, as it marked the beginning of machines replacing humans for tunneling. The earthfill dam, which is 245 feet tall and 9,360 feet long, impounds the Missouri River, has eight spillways, and is the fifth largest dam in the world by structure volume. The power station is capable of generating 768 megawatts of power and provides electricity for most of the north-central United States. The project, which was completed in 1962 at a total cost of approximately $340 million, was officially dedicated by President John F. Kennedy.

Glen Canyon Dam, Lake Powell
Glen Canyon Dam, Lake Powell

2. Lake Powell, Arizona

A breathtakingly beautiful reservoir that attracts over two million vacationers per year, Lake Powell is the second largest reservoir in the United States and is impounded by the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River. Lake Powell — which has a capacity of 27,000,000 acre-feet, a surface area of over 161,000 acres, and a maximum depth of 532 feet — provides water storage for the Upper Basin states of the Colorado River Compact, including Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and New Mexico.

Constructed at a cost of $155 million from 1956 to 1966 by the Bureau of Reclamation, the Glen Canyon Dam is a concrete arch gravity dam that stands 710 feet tall, contains over five million cubic yards of concrete, provides 1296 megawatts of power, and has twin concrete tunnel spillways controlled by double radial gates. The project was dedicated by Lady Bird Johnson on September 22, 1966.

Hoover Dam, Lake Mead
Hoover Dam, Lake Mead

1. Lake Mead, Nevada

Named after Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Elwood Mead, Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States, stretching 112 miles long with a total capacity of 28,255,000 acre-feet, a shoreline of 759 miles, and a maximum depth of 532 feet. It provides water supply, hydroelectric power, recreation, and wildlife habitat. Because of prolonged drought and increased demand, Lake Mead — which provides water to over 20 million people in the states of Arizona, Nevada, and California — has not actually reached its full capacity since 1983. In fact, Lake Sakakawea, number four on our list, currently lays claim to the title of largest reservoir by total area and water volume in reserve.

Constructed between 1931 and 1936 by the Bureau of Reclamation at a cost of $49 million, the Hoover Dam impounds the Colorado River to create Lake Mead. As impressive as the reservoir it creates, the Hoover Dam is a concrete gravity arch dam that soars a whopping 726 feet tall, has two controlled drum-gate spillways, and generates an impressive 2,080 megawatts of power. The construction provided jobs for thousands and thousands of workers during the Great Depression and was named, if somewhat controversially, after President Herbert Hoover. It is the second tallest dam in the United States, second only to the Oroville Dam in California.

Why Water and Wastewater Utilities Must Practice Operational Efficiency

Efficiency-300x209Water and wastewater utilities across the country face common challenges. These include rising costs, aging infrastructure, increasingly stringent regulatory requirements, population changes, and a rapidly changing workforce. While many utilities find themselves turning from one urgent priority to the next, others have implemented effective operational efficiency initiatives that have helped them enhance the stewardship of their infrastructure, improve performance in many critical areas, and respond to current and future demands. Improved efficiency is not just beneficial to a utility’s bottom line – it benefits everyone in a community.

Infrastructure Stability

Utilities who implement operational efficiency understand the condition of and costs associated with critical infrastructure assets. This allows them to maintain and enhance the condition of their infrastructure over the long-term at the lowest possible life-cycle cost consistent with customer, community, anticipated growth, and system reliability goals. Efficient utility management assures infrastructure repair, rehabilitation, and replacement projects are coordinated in order to minimize disruptions in service or other negative consequences.

Enhanced Employee Leadership Development

teamwork-300x181A common problem facing many utilities today is a retiring work force. By implementing operational efficiency now, utilities can recruit and retain a workforce that is competent, adaptive, and correctly trained to take on leadership roles of their own. Through communication and effective training, utility owners and operators can create an organization focused on continual learning and improvement. This ensures employee knowledge is retained and improved upon. Over time, senior knowledge and best practices will be passed along to promote a well-coordinated senior leadership team who understands their system and the needs of its customers.

When employees or operators of water and wastewater systems are knowledgeable enough to solve problems themselves, it allows managers to focus more on the entire utility versus consistently fixing small problems. Managers are then free to focus on internal operations, better management practices, improving water and effluent quality, and other areas of priority.

Managing Reliable Data through Operational Efficiency

Coupled with excellent communication throughout utility staff, data collection is an area of operational efficiency that helps utilities meet demand and plan for the future. With the collection of accurate, reliable data and the tools to analyze the information, utilities can prioritize actions and capitalize on their efforts. This allows them to understand the demands of their service areas and ensure sufficient supply is available. By more efficiently identifying contributors to non-revenue water, such as system leaks, aging assets, and unauthorized usage, utilities can reduce operational expenses and uncover new revenue streams. They can also provide their customers with access to that same set of information, making it possible for them to understand and manage their consumption. This delivers benefits to the entire organization, including billing, customer service, operations, engineering, and distribution, and empowers utilities to address conservation and revenue opportunities.

Reduced Vulnerability to Climate Changes

solution-chalkboard-concept-300x200Some practices that utilities are implementing greatly help to improve resiliency and reduce vulnerability to an ever changing climate. Internal practices and initiatives such as energy conservation, solar energy, and utilizing heat transformed into energy from sewage and digestion have helped utilities rely less on the grid and more on their own operations. This is especially beneficial considering the ever-increasing price of energy. Reducing energy use significantly lowers operational costs for utilities – freeing up dollars for future initiatives or infrastructure improvements. Utilities who practice operational efficiency understand that making internal practices more efficient results in the entire distribution system becoming more efficient.

All Around Flexibility for Utilities

Practicing operational efficiency can greatly improve all around flexibility for water and wastewater systems. Knowing your distribution system and operating it to your specific community’s needs is a huge advantage in dealing with costly dilemmas that occur with infrastructure. In places that see seasonal spikes in water usage, operational efficiency allows a utility to adjust and operate more effectively during peak times as well as during the “off-season.” Practicing operational efficiency also allows a utility to better deal with issues in their distribution system without disrupting service to customers.

In Conclusion

To meet continually increasing challenges, utilities must become more efficient in the way they manage their resources, address demands on their infrastructure, and monitor data throughout their systems. The implementation of improved operational efficiency helps utilities ensure ongoing, timely, cost-effective, reliable, and sustainable performance improvements in all facets of its operations.

UST Removals in Massachusetts

Photo courtesy of https://www.enviroequipment.com
Photo courtesy of https://www.enviroequipment.com

As of August 7, 2017, MassDEP’s closure requirement 310 CMR 80.15 mandates all single-walled steel underground storage tanks (USTs) to be closed-in-place or removed. Covered under this regulation are tanks and associated piping that have more than ten percent of their volume underground and hold petroleum products or hazardous substances listed in the U.S. Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation Liability Act. With the deadline now less than one year away, it is important to fully understand single-walled USTs, their potentially harmful impact on the environment, and how to properly plan to remove them.

Single-Walled USTs Explained

USTs have been used for many years to store hazardous substances and petroleum products used by a wide variety of businesses. In addition to the tank itself, a “UST system” includes the underground piping that is used to fill the tank and draw product from it. Until the mid-1980s, most USTs were made of bare steel, which is likely to corrode and leak over time. These leaks can exist undetected for years and cause pollution of the surrounding soil and even groundwater. The piping in the system can also leak if not properly installed and maintained. In many cases, contaminant leaks do not get discovered until the owner or operator realizes that a significant amount of product in a tank goes missing or when the tank is removed and contaminants are found in the underlying soil. Another indication of a leaking UST is neighbors complaining of odors in their buildings or experiencing problems with their drinking water.

Leaking USTs, specifically single-walled steel USTs, have caused considerable environmental damage in Massachusetts, affecting public and private water supplies, wetlands, and soil. In some cases, vapors from contaminated soil and water have permeated homes and businesses. Many millions of dollars have already been spent on cleaning up these leaks, but fully protecting public health and the environment from UST leaks relies on removing or closing the storage tanks altogether.

Benefits of the MassDEP UST Removal Requirements

The site of a former gas station transformed into a pocket park in Hamilton, Ohio. Photo courtesy of https://www.journal-news.com
The site of a former gas station transformed into a pocket park in Hamilton, Ohio. Photo courtesy of https://www.journal-news.com

The removal or permanent closure of aging, single-walled USTs benefits many areas of a community. The new MassDEP regulations will benefit human health, ecosystem functions, and land productivity.

Human health benefits are among the top reasons why single-walled USTs are now required to be removed by August 7, 2017. Contaminated well water and vapor intrusion are the most critical threats to human health from failing USTs. Leaks from USTs can endanger residents for miles through contamination of groundwater, and increased cancer rates and blood disorders have been attributed to exposure to petroleum products, which are commonly found in USTs. The petroleum vapors which are emitted are highly flammable and are potentially dangerous when found in people’s homes. Vapors can travel through soil, sewer lines, storm drainage systems, and other pathways to enter homes and other buildings.

Many single-walled USTs are located in old gas stations, providing the opportunity to add aesthetic and ecological benefits to a community. If a UST leaks into soil, the site becomes contaminated and is considered a brownfield. Removing or closing USTs and making the site usable again decreases the need for development elsewhere and helps preserve greenfields, such as pastures or forests. Many old gas stations are situated in quite visible locations within towns or neighborhoods and can be reused for purposes such as gateways, town centers, or pocket parks. Such redevelopment opportunities improve a locality’s appeal and create recreational value.

Removing or closing-in-place single-walled USTs results in several ecological benefits. Preventing leakage of hazardous material can reduce surface water contamination – protecting fish and other wildlife. Below the ground, removing USTs ensures that leaking tanks will not compromise underground aquifers for future generations. In the long run, this will better protect our drinking water’s taste and purity. Removing USTs also greatly improves land use because former UST sites with a “clean bill of health” will be more likely to develop and prosper without environmental restrictions.

Are there any exceptions to the new regulations?

Soil contamination from a UST which leaked hundreds of gallons of oil. Photo courtesy of https://mde.maryland.gov
Soil contamination from a UST which leaked hundreds of gallons of oil. Photo courtesy of https://mde.maryland.gov

The MassDEP has included exceptions to the UST removal regulations. Tanks are not required to be removed or closed-in-place if they are consumptive use tanks – such as for heating oil in homes – and single-walled tanks that were relined prior to August 8, 2007 in accordance with API 1631. For these relined tanks to be exempt, the owner or operator must possess a permit and approval issued by the head of the local fire department, or a current legally valid warranty for relining. Other exceptions to the new regulations include single-walled steel tanks that have been wrapped with fiberglass, aramid, carbon fiber, or plastic compounds. It is important to note that single-walled steel tanks that are temporarily out-of-service are NOT exempt from the closure requirement, even if they are consumptive tanks for onsite usage. USTs that are not actively used or temporarily out of service are considered abandoned and must be removed or closed-in-place by August 7, 2017.

MassDEP’s UST closure regulation allows tanks to be permanently closed-in-place only if they cannot be removed from the ground without removing a building, or the removal would endanger the structural integrity of another UST, structure, underground piping, or underground utilities. When closing a tank in place, it is required to clean all contaminants out of the tank to prevent future leaks.

In Conclusion

Meeting MassDEP’s closure requirements means more than just being up to code. Removing hazardous USTs benefits everyone involved. It improves a property’s environmental footprint, removes high risk conditions, and reduces an owner’s environmental liability. Compared to the cost of cleaning up hazardous materials after a UST leak, removing a single-walled UST is well worth it. There is only one year left to comply with the MassDEP UST regulations, so it is imperative to start planning now to remove or close-in-place your single-walled USTs.

Please feel free to contact us for any questions on MassDEP’s requirement or for assistance with UST removals and closures.


Eric Pellatz Memorial Scholarship for Students with Disabilities

In May of 2016, Eric Pellatz, son of Tata & Howard Associate Randy Pellatz, P.E., passed away. To honor Eric’s memory, Randy, his wife Gayle, and their daughter Abby have established a scholarship through the Coconino Community College Foundation in Eric’s name. The “Eric Pellatz Memorial Scholarship for Students with Disabilities” will continue in perpetuity at Coconino Community College to honor Eric’s lifelong passion for helping others with disabilities. Tax deductible contributions are gratefully accepted and can be made online by selecting “Eric Pellatz Memorial (Endowment)” from the dropdown menu at https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/CoconinoCommunityCollegeFou/DonationForm.html. Checks made out to “Eric Pellatz Memorial Scholarship” may be mailed directly to the foundation:

Coconino Community College Foundation
2800 S. Lone Tree Road
Flagstaff, AZ 86005

Randy, Gayle, and Abby Pellatz extend their deepest gratitude to all who honor their son and brother’s memory by supporting the Eric Pellatz Memorial Scholarship. For more information on the Coconino Community College Foundation and its scholarships, please visit https://www.coconinofoundation.org/.

International Beer Day: Celebrating Water Efficient Breweries, Take 2

5200218267_2215c03778_o-1024x683In honor of International Beer Day, we are taking a look at what breweries are doing to conserve the number one ingredient in brewing beer: water. Due to water shortages, increased demand, and heightened awareness, many breweries have taken steps to increase water efficiency and to implement water saving techniques in their brewing. Utilizing a myriad of methodologies and technologies, an increasing number of today’s breweries have begun to focus on brewing beer with water efficiency and conservation at the forefront of their business.

Anheuser-Busch InBev

Anheuser-Busch-AgriMet-300x200The undisputed behemoth of the beer world with 25% of the global beer market, Anheuser-Busch InBev has implemented water-saving measures in many ways. Some of its plants use reclaimed water for equipment cleaning, irrigation, firefighting, and other local uses, such as watering a soccer field in Peru and manufacturing bricks in Brazil. And, as would be expected from such an enormous, influential company, Anheuser-Busch InBev is piloting agricultural programs that it hopes will spread to all facets of agriculture. To start, they have initiated a “Smart Barley” program with 2,000 barley growers in Idaho and Montana. Since agriculture accounts for 95% of the water used in beer making, increasing agricultural water efficiency is the key to breweries becoming better water stewards. Utilizing sensors in the field, cooperative programs, and its own hybridized, drought-resistant seeds, Anheuser-Busch InBev hopes to decrease agricultural water usage by 25% over the next two years.

Even before the implementation of its agricultural program, Anheuser-Busch InBev had managed to reduce its water footprint to the point that it now uses less water than any other major brewer. As of this writing, the company uses about 3.2 bottles of water for each bottle of beer, and the industry average is seven bottles of water per each bottle of beer. In fact, from 2013-2014, Anheuser-Busch InBev saved as much water as is used in the manufacture of four billion cans of Budweiser.


Barley requires 237 gallons of water per every pound grown
Barley requires 237 gallons of water per every pound grown

MillerCoors is also a giant in the beer industry with 30% of the American beer market. Like its major competitor Anheuser-Busch InBev, it also has an Idaho-based pilot project called the Showcase Barley Farm in Silver Creek Valley, Idaho. Utilizing precise irrigation techniques and hardier crop planting, MillerCoors is researching the best ways to increase its water efficiency. Already a success in 2011, Showcase Farms saw a 9% reduction in water usage by precision irrigation alone.

MillerCoors has also implemented water efficiency and conservation measures at its breweries such as utilizing recirculated water rather than freshwater for cooling, reusing wastewater for non-potable uses, cleaning cans with ionized air rather than water, sanitizing systems with bleach instead of hot water, and installing waterless lubrications throughout their operations. The water reclamation system in their Milwaukee brewery alone saves 100 million gallons of water per year. The company uses 3.53 bottles of water for each bottle of beer it produces — just a tad more than Anheuser-Busch InBev — but it hopes to slash its water footprint an additional 15% by 2020.

Both Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors have made huge strides towards water efficiency, and because of their massive size, the impact is significant. However, many smaller craft breweries are doing just as much — and in many instances, more — to become water and environmental stewards.

Full Sail Brewing Company

Screen-Shot-2015-08-06-at-1.43.53-PM-300x215Oregon-based Full Sail Brewing Company is fully committed to water conservation. They operate a hot water recovery system that saves over three million gallons of water per year. Employees work four ten-hour days, which saves another three million gallons of water per year. They have installed special filters to maximize malt extract while minimizing water usage, they’ve reduced spray nozzle apertures on bottle and keg washers, and they’ve reduced cooling water usage by adding a glycol chiller in tandem with their heat exchanger. These measures save an additional 4.1 million gallons per year. The result? The forward thinking company uses just 2.5 bottles of water for each bottle of beer produced — the lowest ratio we have found. But they don’t stop there. Full Sail Brewing operates its own voluntary wastewater treatment plant, which reduces the load to the municipal treatment plant by pre-treating the wastewater. In addition, they distribute their treatment plant’s biosolids to local farmers and an orchardist for fertilizer.

Cape Cod Beer

Hyannis, Massachusetts-based Cape Cod Beer utilizes water reclamation and conservation efforts in their brewing, but they take it a step further. Their beers are only sold in refillable kegs or growlers, and they are passionate about recycling. In addition, they donate all used and leftover grain to local farmers for feed or compost, and they were recently certified “Cape & Islands Green” Level 1.

California Brewers

Photo by Kerrie Lindecker The City of Cloverdale celebrated the completion of two new wells during a ribbon cutting

Bear Republic Brewing Company, whose corporate office and larger brew house are located in Cloverdale, California, actually partnered with the City of Cloverdale to dig two new water wells, which went online last August. Because the City didn’t have the funds for the new wells, Bear Republic prepaid several years of its water fees — $466,000 — in order to allow the city to complete the project on time and under budget. Bear Republic also conducts regular audits for leaks, practices conservation and reclamation in its operations, and is installing a wastewater pre-treatment plant that will generate heat and electricity with the methane it produces as well as reclaimed water for irrigation and cleaning.

In Escondido, California, the nation’s tenth largest craft brewer, Stone Brewing Company, treats all of their brewing wastewater — not to be confused with restaurant or restroom wastewater — with an aerobic digestion and filtration process. The reused water is pure and they use it for cleaning. “From a good brewing practices standpoint, it’s good to watch water usage, especially when you live in a dry area like we do,” explained Mitch Steele, Stone’s Brew master. He also added that they test the reclaimed water frequently and that, if regulations allowed, he wouldn’t hesitate to drink it.

Adding to their already environmentally friendly business practices, both Stone Brewing and Bear Republic have been proactive in sharing their practices and knowledge with the rest of the craft beer community through webinars and on-site tours.

Brewers for Clean Water

So far, over 50 craft breweries, including eight New England breweries, have joined the National Resource Defense Council’s Brewers for Clean Water initiative. The program aims to spread awareness of the Clean Water Act and to support initiatives that protect and conserve our nation’s water. “As we continue to see the craft beer segment grow, we as brewers owe it to the communities we live, work, and play in to be mindful of protecting our waterways as we strive for growth that is environmentally and socially responsible now and down the road,” said Mat Stronger of Allagash Brewing Company, a Portland, Maine-based brewery that is active in the Brewers for Clean Water initiative.

Jester King Brewing with Harvested Rainwater

Jester King's rainwater collection tanks
Jester King’s rainwater collection tanks

Austin, Texas-based Jester King Brewery recently purchased 3,000-gallon rain water collection tanks that will collect rainwater from the roof of both their brewery and adjacent beer hall. They expect to capture an estimated 10,000 barrels of rainwater per year that will be disinfected using ultraviolet and reverse osmosis purification and then be used in their brewing process.

Beer Made with 100% Reclaimed Water

Clean Water Services, a wastewater treatment utility that serves the Portland, Oregon metro area, asked for approval from the state to allow members of the “Oregon Brew Crew” to use recycled sewage water from its Forest Grove plant for beer-making. They received initial approval from the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission and the Oregon Health Authority, but will need further approval for a recycled water reuse plan before forging ahead. Last year, the Oregon Brew Crew produced test batches of beer made from 30% reclaimed water, which met with rave reviews. But, according to the dozen brewers, using 100% reclaimed water will be a more exciting challenge.

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

Clean Water Services believes that educating the public about recycled water will lead to its ultimate acceptance, and they don’t think there’s any better way to start that conversation than with beer.

Sewage Beer


Really. It’s called Activated Sludge, has a radiation symbol on its label, and is brewed with purified Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District wastewater plant effluent that has NOT gone through the final cleaning process typically necessary for potable reclaimed water.

Theera Ratarasarn, a wastewater engineer with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, enjoys home-brewing beer to relax after his two young sons have gone to bed. After doing some thinking, he decided he wanted to raise awareness of the quality of plant effluent, and figured the best way to do so was with his evening hobby.

“I wanted to get people talking,” he said “There’s a potential use for what we discharge into lakes and streams.”

Ratarasarn filtered, treated, distilled, and tested the water before beginning to make five gallons of his Activated Sludge, a wheat ale with 5.15% alcohol by volume. And then came the true test. Ratarasarn presented his sewage brew to a taste panel at Lakefront Brewery, where Activated Sludge competed against Lakefront Wheat Monkey. The result? “It’s one of the better home brews I’ve ever had,” stated Mitchel De Santis, who graded the beer a seven out of ten.

“Everybody I talk to wants one,” added Ratarasarn.

Brewing Up Water Efficiency

Breweries are some of the largest consumers of water, yet have proven that they are some of the most active conservationists. We’ve heard it before: everyone loves beer, so it is an easy way to spread awareness, start conversation, and implement efficiency and conservation techniques. While we may not be drinking sewage beer any time soon, we can all agree that U.S. breweries are doing their part in the water conservation effort — and that’s something to which we can raise a toast. Happy International Beer Day!