Toilet to Tap: Brewery Creates Beer from Recycled Wastewater


Toilet to Tap: Brewery Creates Beer from Recycled Wastewater

 A Southern California brewery has put sustainability on tap with a new brew made exclusively from wastewater, according to news reports.

This month, Stone Brewing unveiled its “Full Circle Pale Ale,” which was made using recycled water from San Diego’s Pure Water project, reported Mashable.

This was all done in the name of sustainability, the brewery said, noting how the historic drought in California affected the state’s water sources. San Diego’s Pure Water project — which aims to provide 30 million gallons (110 million liters) of recycled water a day to the city by 2021 — offered the brewery an opportunity to use a new water source to brew beer, while also helping raise awareness for the project, Mashable reported.

The unconventional brew even tastes great, the Times of San Diego reported, with the city’s mayor calling the beer “fantastic.” In fact, Stone Brewing CEO Pat Tiernan said the purified, recycled water was purer than the brewery’s usual water supply, CW6 San Diego reported.

“This particular water will just help us not require so much natural water to come in, and [will] give us a more reliable source. So for us to be able to re-use, that’s part of our mantra, that’s part of what we do,” Tiernan told CW6.

Though the Full Circle Pale Ale was a one-time-only brew made specially for an event, the wastewater beer isn’t Stone Brewing’s first foray into sustainability. The brewery’s headquarters has its own water-reclamation system, according to Mashable, and uses solar energy for 20 percent of the building’s power.

California Brewer Using Grey Water to Make Beer

James Costa brewmaster
 Cheryl McMullen | Mar 21, 2016

Yes, Mavericks Grey Water Tunnel Vision IPA, is made with recycled water from sinks and showers and treated with NASA technology to clean and use. Though California law prohibits its sale for drinking, grey water, once put through the process is clean enough to, well, drink.

California-based Mavericks Brewing, the sister independent craft brewery of Half Moon Bay Brewing, is taking water conservation to another level with the IPA, made with 100 percent high-purity recycled water.

Answering the call to reduce water usage during California’s years-long drought, Mavericks Founder and Owner Lenny Mendonca teamed up with Sustainable Silicon Valley’s Russ Drinker to draw attention grey water recycling. When the idea of crafting a beer using grey water was mentioned, Mendonca jumped on it.

“I thought, ‘of course we’re going to do that,’” he says.

Knowing the technology works, Mendonca’s concern was simply about taste. Craft beer drinkers like quality, and taste comes first, he says. After making a few small batches, Half Moon Bay’s Brewer John Costa gleefully approved, and Mendonca was all in.

However, as California law lags behind the technology, Mendonca says the health and safety codes don’t take into account today’s advanced technology, used worldwide, which allows water to be highly purified before reaching consumers.  In fact, the technology used to purify the grey water for Mavericks’ IPA belongs to NASA.

“If it’s good enough for NASA to use on the space shuttle, it should be good enough for humans here on earth,” Mendonca says.

According to EPA, no documented cases of human health problems due to contact with properly treated recycled water have been reported. So purity is not the issue, as technology already exists and works, he says.

The problem is what some refer to as the “yuck factor” of reusing sink, shower, and dishwasher water (not toilet water) for drinking purposes. However, the amount of water literally going down the drain is staggering, Mendonca says. Getting consumers past the yuck factor, means educating them about recycled water’s possibilities. Beer is a great way to get consumer attention, and tastings make it easy to prove that taste isn’t a problem, he says.

Standards for recycled water are actually higher than for groundwater use, Mendonca says, and higher yet, for crafting beer. It’s a matter of time before legislation reflects technological advancements and water consumption concerns, he says.

In fact, the EPA already touts the benefits of water recycling, which include a dependable, locally-controlled water supply, as well as, an additional source of water, which would decrease the diversion of water from sensitive ecosystems. It lists other benefits as well, including decreasing wastewater discharges, reducing and preventing pollution and creating or enhancing wetlands. It’s these and other benefits for the environment that the makers of this brew hope to shine a light on and encourage in the drought-stricken state.

California’s own Orange County Water District has reused wastewater for drinking since 2008, through treatment that includes sending water through the ground basins. The district, which serves 2.4 million, currently recycles 70 million gallons of grey water per day with plans to increase 100 million gallons a day.

Legislation currently in committee could be the next step in getting state regulation in line with technology, says Mendonca.

California law prohibits the use of recycled gray water for drinking. However, an active bill in the state house looks to change the issue. State law requires recycled water be injected to replenish aquifers then pumped out as groundwater before it can be used for drinking purposes.

“There’s no such thing as non-recycled water. It’s just a matter how you get it,” Mendonca says.

Regulatory delays haven’t stopped him from moving forward with a more sustainable brew. A panel of beer experts recently tasted the water-conscious in a blind taste test of the Mavericks’ beer. One was made conventionally and the other made using recycled water, even the experts couldn’t tell which one was which.

“Once you taste it, you forget about it.”

And as the beer continues to draw attention to recycled water and its potentials, Mendonca feels it could have a small impact on legislation. He’s talking with experts and politicians and getting good feedback and questions about what needs to be done.

Crafting beer to purify water is not new. Employing a modern take on the age-old tradition, Mendonca says, celebrates the value and safety of recycled water as an essential component of a sustainable water future.

“This is ‘back to the future’ with beer,” he says.  “Back then you didn’t have these water systems, so you treated water like the precious commodity that it is,” says Mendonca.

As someone who grew up on a farm, and still runs it with his siblings, Mendonca is serious about conserving and recycling water.

“I’m a huge believer that water is a scarce commodity. It’s not endless and free.”

With current legislation, for now, though, the beer is free. Mavericks can offer the beer for tastings and for not-for-profit water-sustainability programs only in a demonstrative way. Since it’s a demo project to underscore that recycled water is clean and tastes good, Mendonca can’t sell the beer. He’s trucking the recycled water in, which means it’s not even economical to brew when there’s no profit. But, Mendonca says, it’s more to make a point.

“It’s an act of love, and more, it’s the right thing to do,” he says.

‘Heaven’s water’: the launch of Amsterdam’s first rainwater beer

A group of Dutch entrepreneurs has used their country’s wet weather as a business opportunity by creating a rainwater bitter

 By: Senay Boztas
Tanks for rainwater beer
 Tanks for rainwater beer at the De Prael brewery, Amsterdam. Photograph: Brouwerij de Prael

It may have been the wettest June since records began in some of the Netherlands, but that’s no reason for the Dutch to be despondent.

A small group of entrepreneurs has demonstrated that it’s the perfect excuse to make beer, launching a brew made from rainwater.

The idea is that with climate change linked to increased rainfall in the Netherlands – just as in the UK – they might as well use it as a business opportunity.

At the De Prael brewery in Amsterdam early on Friday evening, bitter lovers turned up for a free tasting of Hemelswater: code blond, a 5.7% beer made from ultra-filtered rain, organic malted barley and wheat, hops and yeast.

“It’s a bitter blond, like an IPA,” explains Hemelswater (which means heaven’s water in Dutch) co-founder Joris Hoebe, “It’s quite bitter, fruity and soft.”

Bottles of Hemelswater water: code blond beer.
 Bottles of Hemelswater water: code blond beer. Photograph: Brouwerij de Prael

The social entrepreneur and student coach got involved in this project, inspired by a government spin-off called Amsterdam Rainproof. This body aims to make citizens aware of the problems of heavy rainfall and take action (pdf) to increase the city’s sponge capacity, so that rainwater is absorbed or used instead of causing flash-floods.

“We get lousy summers and a lot of rain,” says 37-year-old Hoebe. “As a hobby, I was also brewing beer and noticed you need a lot of water. I was thinking, why don’t we put these two together: the abundance of rainwater and the need for water to brew beer?”

Together with a group of four students and a researcher from the startup development initiative MediaLAB Amsterdam, Hoebe set up two huge tanks in the grounds of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.

Obligingly, May brought two weekends of heavy rain and the team managed to push 1,000 litres of rainwater to De Prael brewery in central Amsterdam, which had agreed to be their partner.

Using a special bacterial filtration system also called Hemelswater, they filtered the beer and handed it over to be boiled and made into the brewery’s simplest beer.

The brew is currently on sale for around €2 (£1.70) a bottle, and will be served on tap at various restaurants and bars around the Dutch capital (for around €4 or £3.40).

“In the next year, we want to scale up with hundreds of these tanks across the city, on [the roof space of] companies, restaurants and cafes,” says Hoebe. “We want them to catch the water, we’ll put in sensors and when their tanks are full, we’ll collect the water with electric cars and filter it. We are thinking about making beer, sorbet, soup and lemonade.”

There is a precedent, he adds. “It seems like a disruptive idea, but when we researched it, in the middle ages, [Dutch] breweries set up near churches and cathedrals to catch rainwater runoff from their roofs.

People may worry that about the cleanliness of rainwater, but Hoebe says “you boil the beer so bacteria are killed. There are a lot of problems with drinking water, with more drugs and hormones [found in it]. We believe that with rainwater, we can make cleaner beer.”

De Prael liked the sound of the project from the start, says marketing manager Thomas Gesink. Founded 13 years ago, the Amsterdam brewery employs people facing difficulties in getting a job, training them in the art of making beer (with some support from social funds).

It is set to expand to a second site, and is planning a rainwater tank for the roof to make more code blond beer – whose name is inspired by Dutch colour-coded weather warnings.

“We have this goal to contribute to a better society, and we like to use and make products that are good for the environment,” says Gesink. “The idea is to have cafes catch their own water that we use to make their beer.”

Daniel Goedbloed, programme manager at Amsterdam Rainproof, said the body was created by the Dutch water infrastructure organisation Waternet in response to a disastrous 2011 cloudburst in Copenhagen, which saw six inches of rainfall in less than three hours causing £688m of damage. “They thought how vulnerable Amsterdam is with all its canals,” he explains.

His group gives commissions to small projects, encourages people to create rain-friendly gardens and green roofs, and lobbies larger building projects to incorporate rainwater gathering.

A new island in the IJburg artificial island chain in Amsterdam, for instance, is now being rainproofed, and Mirandabad swimming pool has a parking area on large plastic crates of gravel, so rainwater drains through quickly.

There are government grants to make green roofs and Amsterdam Rainproof is working with other organisations to encourage crowdfunding.

“Rain beer is great,” said Goedbloed. “We say every drop counts, and don’t just look at the down sides. Look at the fact that you can use rainwater to green the city and make it more attractive or even flush your toilet. Hemelswater uses rainwater to make a really nice product: beer. It’s fun, and a lot of people drink beer.”

This “Pail Ale” Beer Is Made With Rainwater

Article featured image
When it rains, brew beer. That’s the thinking behind St. Elmo Brewing Co.’s collaboration with Richard’s Rainwater in Austin, TX.

Quick refresher: beer is made up of four ingredients: barley/wheat, hops, yeast and water. Water plays a huge part in every beer. That’s why lead brewer and co-founder of St. Elmo’s, Bryan Winslow, was so keen to work with Richard Heinichen in making the Rain Pale Ale.

“It’s a really true sense of collaboration,” Winslow says. “I’ve done a lot of ‘collaboration beers,’ with brewers. This was super-fun because we actually got to work with the producer who makes water, which is extremely rare because how many people make water?”

Bryan Winslow (Photo: Heather Gallagher.)
Bryan Winslow (Photo: Heather Gallagher.)

The water itself is incredibly pure. Heinichen collects the rain in massive containers and then performs reverse osmosis to achieve a super-soft quality that’s completely mineral-free. It’s so pure, in fact, that Winslow needs to add calcium chloride and calcium sulfate to it.

“It’s clean and perfect, so I did have to change how I add water to the brewing process because enzymes and yeast need certain ions and compounds and molecules to do their jobs properly,” he says.

Winslow had originally caught wind of Heinichen’s rainwater while he was working at Austin Beerworks. He wanted to collaborate with him then, but thought the company was too big. Fast forward to 2016: Winslow opens St. Elmo, and to their surprise, their landlord is good friends with Heinichen! Once introductions were made, Heinichen sent Winslow some of his water and rainwater beer was made that very day.

“Richard was super excited about making a ‘pail’ ale,” Winslow says. “He thought it was pretty funny. So I though ‘ Why not, man? Let’s do a pale ale.’ I used Cascade and Mandarina Bavaria hops. They add a real brightness, almost sunny, to go with that outdoor feel and the crispness you get from rain.”

Winslow’s already thinking about the next style to brew with the rainwater: a German helles lager, a malt barley lager.

“I think we’ll keep most of the styles lighter because the focus of this collaboration is the water,” he says. “I don’t want to use too much hops or too many crazy malts or anything like that.”

St. Elmo is currently draft-only and sells 95% of their stock out of their brewery. The other 5% is distributed to 12 bars in Austin. So you’ll have to do a rain dance (or head to Austin) to grab a pint.

Commercial Scale Potable Rainwater System Supplied by Ecovie

Ecovie is proud to announce that it has contracted with Bernhard MCC for all equipment for a commercial scale potable rainwater system to supply water for the new Gulf  State Park Interpretive Center in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  It will be one of the first commercial scale potable rainwater systems in the US.  Ecovie worked with  Integral Group from conception through engineering design.  Ecovie is working with Aqua Treatment Services (ATS) for the main water treatment.  The system will have Intewa PURAIN pre-filtration and a Xerxes 11,000 gallon fiberglass cistern as the facility’s sole water supply.  There will be no well or municipal back up supply.

The project will be Living Building Challenge (LBC) certified with the rainwater system fulfilling the “water petal” qualification of achieving true net zero for water with no outside water being used and with no stormwater runoff.  Collected water will be used for all building needs including drinking water and non-potable uses.

This is not the first commercial scale potable rainwater system in the US.  We know of only one in full operation and that is one at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Brock Environmental Center in Virginia.  It has been in operation since 2014 and has had great results.  The Gulf State Park System will use the same 3rd party EPA UVDGM validated treatment system from our development partner, ATS.  A second system was recently installed in Virginia at the Chesapeake Public Safety Building and awaits commissioning.  Ecovie has several other commercial potable rainwater systems in various stages of development.  In addition to these commercial scale potable rainwater systems, there are hundreds of single family residential; scale systems in operation, many of which Ecovie has designed and installed.

Many of you may wonder how it is possible to use captured rainwater from a rooftop as a potable water source.  I will get to that in a minute, but first it is important to emphasize that roof captured rainwater is a primo water source typically with a lot less contaminants that what is found in other typical water sources such as surface water and groundwater.  By just keeping rainwater from hitting the ground keeps it away from contaminants that come from things like farm and industrial runoff, animal activity, and even discharge from our own water treatment plants. This means that treatment of roof captured rainwater need not be overly complicated or complex since it does not contain the pathogens, pesticides, heavy metals, hydrocarbons, drugs, and other toxins found in other source waters.

System Design:

Like all Ecovie rainwater systems, the design starts with the basic fundamentals of rainwater collection and storage, following ARCSA/ASPE 63 guidelines.  Our PURAIN jump filter efficiently pre-filters rain from the 6,300 square foot rooftop as it enters the cistern (NSF 61 certified).

From the tank, water is pumped on demand through treatment which is quite similar to residential scale potable systems with sediment and carbon filtration with UV.  What differs is that for commercial scale we use a treatment which is fully 3rd party validated drinking water test proving actual bacteria, virus, and protozoa (cryptosporidium) elimination with at least a 4 log removal of pathogens (99.99% removal).  The test results in fact showed over 7 log reduction (99.99999%), far exceeding the requirement.  This is done using ATS multi-barrier treatment.  For more information on this treatment and test results click here.  The ATS SKMB treatment is the only total disinfection treatment system tested with live organisms for MS2, Cryptosporidium, Bacillus Globigii, and Adenovirus with the EPA as well as having UVDGM 3rd party validation.   This validation was done on each individual component and with the system as a whole.  And perhaps more importantly, it is the only system already used successfully on a commercial scale potable rainwater system yielding clean, safe, great tasting water.

In order for the State of Alabama to permit the system, chlorine injection is required in addition our validated system to provide a low level residual disinfection downstream.  While we are not crazy about putting a known carcinogen in our beautiful water, we completely understand the reasoning for adding a final level of protection for this first system in Alabama.  Chlorine has been a standard water treatment method for over a century and most local standards still require this 19th century technology.

The system will have an upload of equipment and water quality data to a building management system (BMS).  This will help with reporting requirements to the State.  Parameters such as free chlorine, pH, and turbidity will be monitored continuously as well as equipment status with the filtration, UV, and pumping system.

We would be delighted to talk with anyone in detail about the Gulf State Park project and our approach to potable rainwater systems.  please contact us at



mater-courtyardEcovie and local partner Heat Transfer Equipment Company (HTE) are proud to have designed and commissioned a greywater system at the Mather Veterans Village near Sacramento, California.  Using the Intewa AQUALOOP process with its commercial level NSF 350 certification, the system is designed to collect shower, laundry, and lavatory water from a 50 unit affordable housing complex for homeless and disabled veterans.  Up to 1200 gallons per day of clean, treated water is available for use in grounds irrigation.

Since the system was commissioned in April and the facility was filled to capacity in June, the AQUALOOP system has been treating greywater to clean NSF 350 standards for subsurface drip irrigation.  Here are some of the key features of the design.  Click here for a process schematic:

  • The system is housed in two 1500 gallon underground fiberglass tanks.  One tank acts as the AQUALOOP bioreactor, collecting water mather-graphicdirectly from the building and the other holds clean, treated water.  One advantage of the AQUALOOP design is that it can be put into a wide range of tank configurations, above and below ground, and does not require a separate catchment tank in many cases.
  • Two full AQUALOOP membrane stations are used with a total of 12 membrane cartridges.  This is a good example of how AQUALOOP is scalable to any size capacity from single family homes to large commercial systems capable of treating thousands of gallons per day.
  • System control features full remote monitoring and programming developed by Bill McCabe at HTE.  All aspects of the membrane bioreactor (MBE) including aeration, transfer, and membrane backwash are controlled in a central control panel which has an internet uplink.  Equipment guru-billdiagnostics, tank levels, and totalized flow are continually uploaded with alerts for any unusual conditions.  The control approach will be the standard or all AQUALOOP commercial systems.
  • An alternating duplex pump set up delivers clean water to a subsurface drip irrigation system for the landscaping.  A valve opens automatically to supply city water in cases where no treated water is available.
  • The AQUALOOP system produces water from greywater that is at near potable water quality.  The only system certified commercial for NS 350, AQUALOOP has passed the stringent 6 month test with no maintenance which helps show just how reliable the process is.  Click here for an overview of NSF 350.

Ecovie and its partner firms would be happy to talk to you about your commercial greywater system needs.  as with the Mather project, Ecovie can write the full system specification as basis of design and be your partner from engineering through commissioning and ongoing support.  Please contact us!





Mather Veterans Village becomes a reality

A plan hatched a decade ago in Rancho Cordova to create housing for homeless and disabled veterans has become a reality.

Representatives from the city and the development team discussed how they put together Mather Veterans Village. The first phase of that apartment project on the former Mather Air Force Base will have a formal dedication this week.

In 2006, Sander and other city leaders met with the federal Department of Veterans Affairs to discuss affordable housing possibilities. As the longtime home of both Mather and Aerojet Rocketdyne, Rancho Cordova has a heavy presence of military veterans, Sander said. So housing for that demographic was a priority.

Working with Sacramento County and the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, the city issued a request for proposals for a veterans’ housing project. The particular site on Bleckely Street emerged because it was close to a veterans’ hospital.

Mercy Housing Inc., working with Mogavero Architects, submitted a three-phase proposal that became Mather Veterans Village. As the concept evolved, the project partners also had to figure out the financing for what ended up being a $17 million project for the first phase alone.

Stephan Daues, Mercy’s regional director of housing development, said affordable housing tax credits got the project across the finish line. But the initial boost came from Rancho Cordova, which pledged $1.3 million from a secured housing trust fund.

Sander said that money came directly out of the city’s general fund. But the veterans’ presence in Rancho Cordova, along with a history of fiscally conservative budgeting, helped the city make the case for using money for that purpose, he said.

As the project took shape, it became a mix of new and old buildings. While two phases involve ground-up construction of about 50 units each, another will re-use an existing infirmary building on the site.

Renner Johnston, a principal at Mogavero, said the infirmary ended up being an ideal candidate for adaptive re-use. As basically a concrete bunker, the building already had energy efficiencies, even though they weren’t the goal when it was built decades ago, that could eventually make it zero-net energy

“Every bit of the structure is heavy concrete,” Johnston said, describing how crews removed one wall to put in more glass with relative ease. “You couldn’t do that with a wood building. This is a unique opportunity.”

The infirmary re-use will convert part of the building into transitional housing for recently homeless veterans. The rest of the building will host an array of social services and resources, from meeting rooms to a community space to demonstration kitchen to computer lab. The latter features are already complete, with more to come as the full buildout of the infirmary re-use phase and then the ground-up third phase get underway.

The first-phase apartment units are clustered in a three-story building with both stairs and elevators. That helps disabled veterans access any unit.

Other features in the building include solar-powered water heaters, a greywater system to irrigate landscaping and solar panels for electricity. Johnston said those features reduce both utility usage and bills, in essence making them more affordable.

Residents began moving into the first phase in late June, and entirely filled them within a month. That wasn’t surprising, when veterans make up an estimated 12 percent of the 2,600 homeless counted in Sacramento County last year. According to Rick Sprague of Mercy Housing, Mather Veterans Village already has a wait list of 34.

Both the second and third phase of the project, each with another 50 housing units, could get underway by the end of next year. Beyond that, officials involved in this project said they can see a need for more like it.

“I wouldn’t say we’re done,” Sander said.


AQUALOOP NSF 350 Certified for Greywater Recycling

The AQUALOOP greywater recycling system is now certified under NSF 350 for bath and laundry recycling at the commercial (C) level, the very first and only system to pass these rigorous standards.  This is an important development for the entry of AQUALOOP into the US market since a number of code bodies require NSF 350 listing for any greywater system that will reuse treated greywater indoors.  The following four following plumbing and building codes require NSF/ANSI 350 certification for toilet and urinal flushing.
  • 2015 International Residential Code
  • 2015 International Plumbing Code
  • 2015 Uniform Plumbing Code
  • 2105 International Green Construction Code
This certification helps assure that greywater treated with the AQUALOOP system is suitable for indoor use, can be used for spray irrigation, and is not just sub-surface drip like most other types of greywater treatment.  NSF 350 also assures that Aqualoop treated water can be stored for extended periods and is not subject to the typical requirement that untreated greywater be used or dumped within 24 hours.  As state and local codes adopt these mantional and international standards, NSF 350 will become a necessity for any greywater process.
The NSF certification process entails a rigorous 6 month operating test in which no mainetnance is allowed and water is tested 3 times a week for a wide range of parameters including tubidity, BOD (biological oxygen demand) and biological activity (e.coli proxy).  The water tests for commercial listing are more stringent than the residential listing and as such makes the commercial listing much more difficult to achieve.  In addition, the commercial test is 4.5 weeks longer than the residential test.
Of special note is that the Aqualoop MBR (membrane bioreactor) process is simple with a only three basic steps; pre-filtration, biological digestion through aeration in a fluidized bed, and ultrafiltration.  NO additional disinfection was required to meet the NSF 350 water quality standard.  This mean there is no need for a UV unit or chlorine addition.  This help reduce capital cost, mainetenance, and reliability.  Due to the membrane filter cartridge design, the system is scalable from small residential to large scale commercial sized systems.
If interested in learning more about Aqualoop, please see or

Plumbing codes adopt NSF water reuse standard

From:  Supply House Times

1 April 2016

To help address water scarcity and drought issues, four international plumbing and building codes — 2015 International Residential Code, 2015 International Plumbing Code, 2015 Uniform Plumbing Code and 2105 International Green Construction Code — now require that water reuse systems used for toilet and urinal flushing comply with NSF/ANSI 350 to ensure proper treatment of graywater.

NSF International, a global public health organization, developed NSF/ANSI 350: Onsite Residential and Commercial Water Reuse Treatment to standardize the material, design and performance criteria for water reuse systems.

Water reuse systems reduce costs associated with energy and water use by treating water onsite. In areas such as California, where water scarcity is a growing concern, these systems can provide an additional source of critically needed water and reduce the strain on municipal resources.

Under these codes, should a builder choose to use an onsite water reuse system, certification to NSF/ANSI 350 is either required or constitutes a path to acceptance under these codes. NSF/ANSI 350 certification ensures that water for toilet and urinal flushing (and in some codes for surface irrigation) is properly treated for use in these applications.

NSF/ANSI 350 establishes material, design, construction and performance requirements for onsite residential and commercial water reuse treatment systems. It also sets water-quality requirements for the reduction of chemical and microbiological contaminants for nonpotable water use. Treated greywater can be used for restricted indoor water use such as toilet and urinal flushing, and for outdoor unrestricted water use such as lawn irrigation.

The standard requires 26 weeks of continuous testing with regularly scheduled sampling throughout, typically three days a week. This lengthy testing time with high sampling volume is designed to assess the reliability of the treatment system product over time.

“The inclusion of NSF/ANSI 350, the American National Standard for water reuse treatment systems, in these important international plumbing and building codes is further recognition of the rigor of the NSF International standard and its effectiveness in helping these technologies gain use and acceptance in the marketplace,” said Jessica Evans, director of standards development at NSF International. “Water scarcity is a growing global issue and ensuring certified water reuse systems properly treat greywater will be an essential part of the solution.”

For more information about NSF International sustainability standards, or contact Jamie Bush at

Greywater Harvesting for Hotels

From Green Hotelier:

Harvesting greywater to reuse in toilets

Recycling greywater to use in toilets

Water stewardship is an extremely important aspect of good environmental practice for hotels. Many use reduced flow and flush in bathrooms, but how many are recycling water?

Water re-use is becoming core to many companies’ sustainability efforts and it’s never been more important.  Freshwater withdrawals have increased globally by about 1% per year since the 1980s (UN, 2016) and it is estimated that water scarcity now affects 40% of the global population (CAWMA, 2007).  Even in the UK some areas are reporting difficulties in meeting demand.

Hotels often do a lot to manage water consumption. Low flow taps and showers or aerators, reduced flush toilets or no flush urinals, sensor activation and good housekeeping practices all help to reduce the amount of water per guest, per room and per stay. But, even with these measures many guests admit to using much water during a hotel stay than they would at home, and in some water scarce areas, the difference in consumption between a hotel guest and the local population can be up to 20 times and dozens of litres.

Anything hotels can do to better manage their water consumption is a good thing, but how many look at recycling water?

Significant water consumption savings can be made from re-use initiatives. Rainwater harvesting can reduce mains water consumption by up to 30% whereas greywater recycling can save as much as 40%. Aside from lower metered water bills, companies can also benefit from reduced risks of storm water flooding, decreased sewerage charges and lower energy costs associated with water supply.

New water re-use solutions offer commercial organisations a variety of cost-efficient, reliable and highly effective options to help achieve their sustainability goals.  Claire Yeates, a Director at Waterscan said: “Many companies are aware of the benefits of water re-use but are naturally concerned about payback times and the potential operational impacts of installing new technologies. Add to this reliability issues from early-to-market systems and it’s easy to see why widescale uptake of water recycling has been hindered. We firmly believe that greywater recycling and rainwater harvesting can play a significant role in many company’s water strategies and that is why we are bringing new best-in-class technology to market.”

The various water recycling systems have been developed to give greater system design flexibility in line with customer priorities and requirements, plus a 30% faster return on investment. Waterscan systems now feature:

  • Multiple tiered redundancy to ensure complete integrity of supply.
  • Built-in telemetry which transmits system data and live diagnostics for preventative maintenance.
  • Siemens smart user interface for usage data and enhanced system monitoring.
  • Variable speed, load sharing pumps, insulation and slow close valves for an even quieter operation.
  • Low energy components so the system can produce 1m3 using just 1.5Kw/h energy.
  • A smaller system footprint which reduces installation costs and impact on building footprint.

Barry Millar, Operations Director at Waterscan, said, “Our new water re-use systems are now designed and largely built in the UK using modular components. This enables us to meet clients’ exact specifications in line with individual business strategies and site requirements. Our complete service involving design, supply installation and maintenance of water-saving systems, along with our consultative approach, gives us a unique ability to deliver optimum results across varied client property portfolios. All of this means that our clients will benefit from a faster return on investment and still have complete confidence in their operations.”

Greywater Recycling in Action at Premier Inn

In partnership with its client Premier Inn, Waterscan installed a greywater recycling system in water-scarce Abu Dhabi. The initiative is vastly reducing mains water consumption, saving an average of 735,000 litres (24%) of mains water each month – 60 litres per guest. Over the course of a year, this is the equivalent of 110,000 baths. 100% of toilet flushing at the hotel now uses recycled water.

Greywater Recycling

Greywater recycling captures the water used for showering or bathing and, after treatment through an ultra-filtration membrane system, is fed back into the property for non-potable purposes such as flushing toilets, irrigation and laundry.

  • Greywater Recycling Batch System: where low energy consumption is a priority and there is physical space for a larger system footprint, this low pressure filtration method takes a little longer but uses less energy in the process.
  • Greywater Recycling On-Demand System: where space saving and a faster return on investment are priorities, this high pressure approach delivers rapid ultrafiltration and therefore requires less tank storage and correspondingly reduced installation costs.

Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater is collected, filtered and fed back into the property through a robust treatment system ensuring that only the cleanest water is utilised for non-potable purposes like vehicle washing, toilet flushing and irrigation.  A rainwater harvesting system is suitable for all commercial applications where there is adequate roof space to harvest sufficient water to achieve a good return on investment.

Hoteliers interested in learning more about water risk can read our Global Water Risk Assessment and find tips for taking action on water reduction in our manual Environmental Management for Hotels.

ITP members are acting on water on behalf of the industry by collaborating with member hotel groups to develop the Hotel Water Measurement Initiative. This universally recognised tool and metric will help all hotels of any size, anywhere in the world measure in a consistent manner. The HWMI is currently in the testing phase and will be released as a free tool for the industry in World Water Week at the end of August 2016.