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Bill would simplify water reuse for breweries, wineries

State Sen. Scott Wiener announced on Monday morning a proposal to help streamline the process for wineries and breweries who want to reuse onsite processed water.

Senate Bill 166 would require the State Water Board to create regulations for wineries and breweries for the onsite use and treatment of recycled water. The water board would work with the Food and Drug Branch of the California Department of Public Health to develop the regulations.

The regulations would require water quality monitoring, notification and public information requirements, and reporting annually to the CDPH.

Wiener said:

“Right now, although there are breweries and wineries that are recycling water, it is too clunky of a process and they’re forced to recreate the wheel every time when they seek a permit to do it.”

He added:

“We want the State Water Board to issue clear rules around health and safety and how you do it so that breweries and wineries that want to reuse their water know that they need to do x, y and z.”

Patrick MacCartee, owner of the winery Tank18 in the South of Market, said they’re constantly using water to clean tanks and equipment and can use anywhere from 20 to 60 gallons of water due to the number of processes it takes to make sure tanks and equipment are thoroughly clean:

“Being able to capture that could save hundreds of gallons a day.”

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which is sponsoring Wiener’s proposed bill, has a non-potable program in place and already encourages breweries to start treating and reusing their processed water.

The bill has support from the Natural Resources Defense Council, WaterNow Alliance, and SPUR.

Laura Tam, SPUR’s sustainable development policy director, said not increasing efforts statewide to reuse water will have severe effects upon the state’s future water supply:

“As we all know from living here in the past few years, dry years and multiple year droughts are part of our California life. We also know that climate change could easily bring more severe and more frequent droughts like this in the future as well as a significant decline in water availability from the Sierra snowpack by the end of the century.”

If the bill passes, the state water board will have until Dec. 1, 2025 to create the new regulations for breweries and wineries.

The bill will next head to a committee hearing in the next few months.

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