Background information

Brewing process is accompanied by the release of a great variety of contaminant each of which limit the usability of the water for certain applications and can cause problems with effluent discharge.

Brewing effluent fluid in mostly water by weight, other materials make up only a small portion of the wastewater which has high strength of organic matter.

The wastewater generated in the production of beer is contaminated mainly for the muddy remains of the organic matter in suspension removal (clarification of the residual beer) and yeast residues. This type of discharge is characterized by high organic load and high biodegradability, which favours their chances purification by biological methods. Must be added that discharges are also generated during cleaning of equipment and facilities, with the operation that usually brings greater pollution load to the wastewater, since cleaning water contains various chemicals.

The implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive (2000/60 / EC) which aims to achieve good ecological status of the water and associated ecosystems has led to a notable increase in areas deemed “sensitive”. As a result, the limits for the values of nitrogen and phosphorus principally and sulfates in the discharge of waste waters have adapted to this situation. Even though the water quality of the effluent discharges in Europe has been recently improved, the Directives are not equally satisfied by all the EU members. Also, the discharge of emerging contaminants in effluents from wastewater treatment plants is not well regulated. As previously described (by Driessen and ereijken 2011), treated effluent discharges from brewer wastewater treatment plants in Europe contribute significantly to the presence of contaminants in European water bodies. The most important wastewater treatment effluent discharge to riverbasin were evaluated all over Europe (from plants of Heinenken in Denmark, MAHOU in Spain, Carlsberg in Nordic countries and Hopbrahäus in Germany).

Accordingly, national legislation of some Member States have set very strict limits for the pollutant discharges; such as total sulphurs content below 25mg/hl in Austria or phosphorous content below 18mg/hl in the Netherlands, so that it is practically prohibited to discharge. The techniques of wastewater treatment that is proposed in Life-ANSWER represents a clear improvement in the management of pollutant present in waste water of food and drink sector and it contributes to the accomplishment of the limits set by European regulation; i.e. reduction of pollutants in wastewater flows for river discharge below 35% of the amount produced in 1995 by 2020.