Best Management Practices
The Federal Clean Water Act requires cities to regulate industries that discharge wastewater or stormwater to the City’s sanitary sewer systems. The City of Albany sets the pollutant limits and regulates industries in order to protect the Albany Millersburg Water Reclamation Facility and surrounding watersheds. Businesses and industries that use fermentation and distillation processes to produce beverages are subject to environmental regulatory requirements and Best Management Practices (BMPs).
The following is an overview of Industrial Pretreatment requirements for business owners and individuals interested in the craft fermented beverage industry including, but not limited to: breweries, distilleries, wineries, cideries, meaderies, and kombucharies.
Pollutants of Concern
The City’s pH range for discharges to the sanitary sewer is 6.0 to 10.0 standard units (SU). Wastewater with pH values outside of that range can corrode pipes and are prohibited from being discharged to the sanitary sewer system. (AMC 10.06.040(c))
Low pH substances (acids) include:
- Vinegar (Acetic Acid)
- Many Sanitizing Chemicals
- Finished Beverage
High pH substances (alkaline) include:
- Bleach (Sodium Hypochlorite)
- Caustic (Sodium Hydroxide)
Prior to discharge to the sanitary sewer system, wastewater pH must be within discharge range of 6.0 to 10.0 su.
- Use a tank or similar vessel to capture both acidic and alkaline waste streams.
- Once the wastes are well mixed, test the resulting pH with a handheld pH meter. If it is within the City’s allowable pH range of 6.0 and 10.0 su, then it may be discharged to the City’s sanitary sewer system.
- If the pH is outside of the range, then add an alkaline chemical to increase the pH or an acidic chemical to reduce the pH to within the allowable range.
- Mix wastewater well before testing the pH with a handheld meter.
- pH must be measured prior to discharging to the sanitary sewer.
- Maintain a log documenting each batch of wastewater discharged to the City.
- The log should include date, discharge volume, pH at time of discharge, and pH meter calibration date.
While the City’s wastewater treatment plant is designed to treat solids, highly concentrated solids can settle in the sewer pipes and obstruct flow. Discharges that obstruct a sewer line are prohibited. (AMC 10.06.040(b))
Concentrated solids such as spent grains and yeast can be collected for beneficial re-uses. Below are a few examples of how spent grains and yeast can be repurposed:
Agricultural: Spent grains and yeast can be sued by local farmers and livestock owners for on-site composting and feed uses.
Baking: Spent grains can be used by local baking businesses for breads, cookies, and even dog biscuits. Reach out to your local community baking businesses.
Composting: Composting spent grains and yeast can be used to fertilize fields, community gardens, and urban greenhouses.
Supplemental Energy: Fuel-to-energy processes converts spent grain into biogas that can be used to generate energy.
Best Management Practices (BMPs)
- Plumb all drains from brewing operations to a common drain, sump, or wastewater tank. Control of pH is necessary, and batch treatment to meet pH limits is the best option for many small breweries.
- Set aside sufficient floor space for a wastewater pH equalization/treatment tank, treatment chemical containers and solids handling equipment and storage. Store all chemicals on secondary containment.
- Provide an easily accessible sample site that is representative of the discharge from the brewing operation, separate from the sanitary and restaurant drain lines.
- Consider beneficial reuse: Seek opportunities to turn solids into compost, fertilizer, animal feed, energy, or reuse. See information above.
- Install screens, baskets and filters on all floor drains and trenches. Use appropriate gauge screens and make sure screens are easy to access and service.
- Contain solids at the source. Do not let them hit the ground. If they do, sweep up and collect all solids that are spilled immediately. Do not rinse solids down the drain.
- Train all employees upon hiring and annually thereafter on BMP management practices, solid management practices, and pH control.
Rules and Regulations – All Businesses
All Craft Fermented Beverage Industries must abide by the discharge prohibitions listed in AMC 10.06.040(1) and implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) per Albany Municipal Code AMC 10.06.030(6).
Wastewater Discharge Permits
Currently, a general Wastewater Discharge Permit is required to discharge wastewater from craft fermented beverage facilities.