The federal Clean Water Act requires cities to regulate industries that discharge wastewater or stormwater to the city’s sewer systems. As the City’s sewer and stormwater services provider, Environmental Services sets the pollutant limits and regulates industries in order to protect the City’s system and our watersheds. Businesses and industries that use fermentation and distillation processes to produce beverages are subject to environmental regulatory requirements.
This is an overview of Environmental Services regulatory requirements for business owners and individuals interested in the craft fermented beverage industry including, but not limited to: breweries, distilleries, wineries, cideries, meaderies, and kombucharies.
Pollutants of Concern
Biochemical Oxygen Demand
|The City’s pH range for discharges to the sanitary sewer is 5.0 to11.5 standard units (SU). Wastewater with pH values outside of that range can corrode pipes and are prohibited from being discharged to the sanitary sewer system.
Low pH substances (acids) include:
High pH substances (alkalines) include:
Mitigation StrategiesPrior to discharge to the sewer system, wastewater must be within discharge range of 5.0 to 11.5 SU.
|While the City’s wastewater treatment plant is designed to treat solids, highly concentrated solids can settle in the sewer pipes and obstruct flow. Discharges that obstruct a sewer line are prohibited.
Mitigation StrategiesConcentrated solids such as spent grains and yeast can be collected for beneficial re-uses. Below are a few examples of how spent grains and yeast can be repurposed:
Find more information regarding sustainable brewing practices and beneficial re-uses at:
|Also known as BOD, this is a measurement of the amount of oxygen that bacteria at the wastewater treatment plant need to biodegrade pollutants. High BOD levels can result from the discharge of:
Mitigation StrategiesThe Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant is designed to remove these pollutants. However, the BOD from craft fermented beverage facilities is much higher than typical wastewater and costs more to treat. Businesses creating craft fermented beverages pay an extra-strength charge to cover the increased treatment costs. Discharging large volumes of concentrated BOD material (product or raw materials) could have a negative effect on the treatment plant.
Please call Pollution Prevention Services at 503-823-5600 for guidance on how to manage large volumes.
Environmental Services Rules and Regulations
- Monitoring Access Structure – Since Craft Fermented Beverage Manufacturers discharge pollutants of concern, these businesses are required to install and maintain a monitoring access structure (MAS) per City rule ENB 4.35. The purpose of the MAS is to provide a location for the City to take representative wastewater samples to determine compliance with City discharge standards and extra strength charges. The MAS is required to be installed in a location that captures all waste streams discharged by the business. Under certain conditions, Craft Fermented Beverage Manufactures may request a variance which allows them to install a MAS in a location that only captures the pollutants of concern.
- Grease Removal Device – If the beverage manufacturer is also preparing and/or serving food, then a grease removal device must be installed to capture the water from grease-bearing drains. The device must be maintained according to Oregon Plumbing Specialty Code and City rules.
- Extra Strength Sewer Charges – Wastewater with concentrated pollutants such as BOD and solids is considered “extra-strength” and cost more for the City to treat than wastewater from a residence.
- Secondary Containment – All chemical, wastewater, or product storage areas must be provided with secondary containment to protect both sanitary and storm sewer systems. More information on outdoor containment requirements can be found in the Environmental Services Source Control Manual. For indoor storage, depending on the stored material, the containment area may not be allowed to have drainage installed within the containment area. Special Circumstances can be heard for either indoor or outdoor storage situations that cannot meet these requirements outright but can meet the intent.
- Submeter Program – Most businesses are charged for sewer use based on their water consumption. This program may financially benefit large scale beverage producers by measuring the site’s actual discharge through metering. In order to participate in the submeter program, businesses must submit an application, purchase and install a City approved submeter in a City approved location. Any maintenance associated with submeters is the sole responsibility of the customer.
- Solid waste and recycling must meet requirements of Environmental Services Source Control Manual.
- Stormwater Management – Businesses may need to meet on-site stormwater management requirements per the Stormwater Management Manual Environmental Services Maintenance Inspection Program oversees stormwater facility maintenance.
- Businesses may need to meet on-site stormwater management requirements per the Stormwater Management Manual. Environmental Services Maintenance Inspection Program oversees stormwater facility maintenance.
- BUILDING PERMITS – All businesses going through development,re-development or tenant improvements will require a permit.
- WASTEWATER PERMITS – Discharging wastewater from the production of fermented beverages requires a City-issued permit. The type of permit depends upon the volume of process wastewater discharged and the compliance history of the business. Permit types include:
- Alternative Discharge Control Mechanism (ADCM) is an authorization to discharge that requires businesses to implement best management practices and submittal of annual certification reports.
- Industrial Wastewater Discharge Permit is a “traditional” environmental permit requiring continuous pH monitoring and monthly regulatory reporting.
- STORMWATER PERMITS – If the primary activity of a business is the manufacture of beverages and it discharges stormwater to surface waters, a 1200-Z general industrial stormwater discharge permit is required or a No Exposure Certification (NEC) for exclusion from permitting.