Recycling Water Made Easier for Breweries and Wineries

The SFPUC and Senator Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, announced new legislation Monday that aims to make it easier for breweries and wineries across the state to recycle water.

Senate Bill 166 calls for the creation of clear guidelines on reusing “process water” onsite for tasks such as rinsing equipment and tanks. It directs the State Water Board, in consultation with the California Department of Public Health – Food and Drug Branch (CDPH), to develop regulations for microbiological, chemical and physical water quality and treatment requirements for the onsite treatment and reuse of process water at breweries and wineries. The regulations will include water quality monitoring requirements, notification and public information requirements and annual reporting to CDPH.

SFPUC Water Resources Manager Paula Kehoe with Senator Scott Wiener.

SPUR, the WaterNow Alliance and Natural Resources Defense Council support the proposed measure, which is set for a committee hearing in the coming months.

The SFPUC is committed to pursuing responsible water conservation and water reuse programs. In 2012, San Francisco became the first municipality in the country to adopt legislation allowing buildings to collect, treat and use alternate water sources for non-potable demands, such as toilet flushing, cooling and irrigation. Subsequently, San Francisco became the first municipality to require all new development projects with more than 250,000 square feet to install and operate onsite non-potable water systems. Building on the SFPUC’s successful program, last year, Senator Wiener authored and passed SB 966—first in the nation legislation to help local municipalities create onsite water cycling programs.

And at the SFPUC’s headquarters in downtown San Francisco, a Living Machine was installed to treat all the building’s wastewater onsite and reuse it for toilet and urinal flushing. The Living Machine has been able to reduce the building’s potable water use by 60 percent.

These efforts, combined with the SFPUC’s on-going education to customers, are among the reasons San Francisco’s water use consistently ranks among the lowest in the state.