Jun 10, 2019

Several Breweries Oppose EPA Proposal on Groundwater Pollution

Multiple U.S. craft breweries signed a letter opposing a U.S. EPA proposal

Multiple craft breweries across the country have submitted a letter opposing a recent U.S. EPA proposal

Nearly 40 craft breweries in the U.S. submitted a letter that opposes a recent U.S. EPA proposal June 6. The proposal aims to stop controlling pollution that flows through groundwater into rivers, streams and lakes, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The policy would allow polluters to dump pollution a few feet from a waterway, or inject it underground. According to the NRDC, polluters would not face consequences by avoiding Clean Water Act requirements if the pollution ends up in the water. It’s is the NRDC’s stance that the proposed change would threaten drinking water sources in the U.S., including water that breweries use to brew beer.

Many brewers who signed the letter are partners in NRDC’s Brewers for Clean Water campaign.

The following is part of the full letter submitted to the EPA:

“Dear Administrator Wheeler:

We oppose your proposal not to require Clean Water Act permits for pollution discharges into waterways through groundwater. This policy change would endanger the water sources that our craft breweries depend on to brew our beer.

Beer is mostly water, so the quality of our source water significantly affects our finished product. Compounds present in brewing water can affect pH, color, aroma, and taste. Sulfates make hops taste astringent, while chlorine can create a medicinal off-flavor. The presence of bacteria can spoil a batch of beer. Even small chemical disruptions in our water supply can influence factors like shelf life and foam pattern.

Unexpected changes in water quality—due to pollution in our source water, or a change in the treatment process at our local drinking water plant—can threaten our brewing process and our bottom line. We need reliable sources of clean water to consistently produce the great beer that is key to our success. It is thanks in part to this important natural resource that the craft brewing industry contributes about $76.2 billion to the U.S. economy each year, along with more than 500,000 jobs.

The full letter can be viewed here.