TCUSON, AZ - It's not the watering hole you'd head to if you needed a beer but this really is where it all starts for the Arizona Pure Water Brew Challenge: the water treatment plant in Tucson.
Crews here will take raw sewage, clean it up a bit and then clean it again with a high-tech filtration system.
“It's very clean,” says Jeff Prevatt, the Research and Innovation Leader with the Pima County Waste Water Department. “It's ultra-pure. It's the purest water you'll encounter.”
Prevatt is helping to head up the brewing challenge and he's also the guy who knows all about the water filtration semi. The truck was built thanks to a $250,000 grant.
“Arizona has had a prohibition on potable reuse for 20 years because technology wasn't there,” says Prevatt. “The technology is there now and that's what we're trying to demonstrate.”
The treated waste water is pumped from outside into the semi. At this point, this is what you'd use for irrigation. From here it'll pass through another filtration system then reverse osmosis - removing everything like chlorine, calcium, sodium, pharmaceuticals and regular organic matter. The water is also disinfected with ultraviolet light, destroying the DNA of bacteria and viruses. If that isn't enough, a peroxide solution is added making the ultra violet light five times more effective. The water is run through massive carbon filters, similar to the ones used in home refrigerators, just much bigger.
The end result: pure water. Cleaner than what comes out of your tap.
The ultra-clean water will be shipped to breweries around Arizona for the brew challenge, but Prevatt says they're also hoping to change people's opinions on this water with a new purpose.
"They know where the original source of that water was. It was raw sewage and it's been recycled,” says Prevatt.
The gross thoughts aside, the consumer shouldn't be able to tell a difference. It’s important to note that breweries aren’t brewing all of their products with the recycled waste water -- just enough for the challenge.