| Polluted River Water Beer?
by Wayne P. Mason
Hi Bob and Friends - Would any of you like to drink a beer
originating in what used to be one of the most polluted rivers in the
country? I might just get that chance. Let me explain. Several
months ago a Newton, Massachusetts-based water technology
company Desalitech withdrew 4,000 gallons from Boston's Charles
River. After purification, the water was delivered to six local
breweries for a beer-making
As a life long resident of Boston I was excited about it, after all the
Charles River is one of the biggest icons of Boston. Being able to
drink it woud really tapping in one of the biggest symbols of my town.
I really wasn't worried drinking the beer since the Desaltech
Company upgraded their traditional process called reverse osmosis
to treat the water and clean it for reuse. Reverse osmosis uses
special membranes to block salts and contaminants, producing
purified water and a stream of concentrated pollutants. Reverse
osmosis systems typically operate around 75% water efficiency,
wasting about 25 gallons for every 75 gallons of purified water. For
this event, called Brew the Charles Project, there was 98%
Cleaning the water wasn't easy as swimming or boating in the river
was once unheard of, let alone drinking from its waters. Fifty years
ago, the Charles literally ran in colors stemming from local industry
waste. As recently as 1996, raw sewage pollution in the river was
severe enough that it failed state swimming standards up to 80% of
the time over the course of the year,
Then, authorities launched efforts including preserving wetlands to
filter out pollutants; promoting construction of modern wastewater
plants, reducing sewage discharges; and enforcing the 1972 Clean
Thanks to the ongoing efforts of the Watershed Association and
local authorities, the US Environmental Protection Agency gave the
river a B+ in 2015, up dramatically from its D in 1995. About $500
million has been invested over the years to clean up the water and
bring the region's main waterway back to life. It's still got its issues,
but you can boat on it safely and occasionally swim in it safely. The
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave the Charles a B+ for
meeting water quality standards for almost all boating and some
swimming in its most recent annual report card.
The water arrived last month at Boston Beer Co. (the makers of
Samuel Adams), Cape Ann Brewing Co., Castle Island Brewing Co.,
Harpoon Brewery, Idle Hands Craft Ales and Ipswich Ale Brewery.
Jennifer Glanville, the brewer at Sam Adams, said it is brewing a
German "helles" lager that she believes will "showcase" the water's
unique character. They're calling it "80 Miles of Helles," after the 80-
mile length of the Charles River.
Adam Romanow, founder of Castle Island Brewing, said his team
went with a dry hopped cream ale in hopes that it will also "let the
water shine through." The Norwood, Massachusetts brewery is
calling their concoction "Chuck." Brewers at Sam Adams and Castle
Island Brewing reported that the Desalitech-treated water was high
quality. They used it as they would have any other water source —
no additional steps or special treatments needed.
Alll I can say Bob is that I'm going to make a point to drink as many
of those beers as possible when they come out to show my support
for a clean Charles River. My only hope is that after drinking them I
don't start to glow (just kidding).
Thanks Bob - and cheers to all your readers!
Many thanks for sending your article Wayne It was a fun, informative,
and most interesting read. Let us know how the beer tastes; I'm betting
it's going to be fine. Hope you get a chance to send another article in.
I'd like to invite everyone to send me their own columns about
anything related to beer/drinking/booze just as Henry did. I select
the best and publish them here. So join in and get writing.
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