Brewery: Filtering Water May Ruin Beer
Portland, Ore., Seeks Exemption From EPA Requirement
POSTED: 11:02 am EDT July 27, 2009
UPDATED: 1:38 pm EDT July 27, 2009
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PORTLAND, Ore. -- A popular Portland brewery is urging the city to fight against federal government water quality standards because the regulation will affect the taste of beer.
The Widmer Brothers Brewery is leading the filtration order fight. City officials said the water from the Bull Run reservoirs is perfectly clean and free of the intestinal parasite that the Environmental Protection Agency requires all municipal water systems to filter out, reported television station KPTV in Portland.
The city's argument, bolstered by the beer-brewing Widmer brothers, is that the city's water supply is safe just the way it is and has been for more than a century.
Portland is home to more breweries and sells more draft beer per person than any city in North America, KPTV reported.
The Widmers are among the city's biggest industrial consumers of Portland water. Kurt Widmer said they use about 40 million gallons a year to brew Hefeweisen and other craft beers.
He said what concerns him is the effect of chemical treatment on Portland's water and the taste of the beer that helped give the City of Roses the nickname Beervana.
He's urging everyone to join the City Council in telling the EPA that further treatment of the water is unnecessary and a waste of the estimated $385 million it will cost for the water treatment plant.
"We have a wonderful water system that may be unique in the world, certainly in this part of the world. Take a look and maybe they'll come to the conclusion that we don't need to do anything and that $385 million could be spent on education or health care or something else," Widmer said.
The city of Portland lost its first appeal of the federal rule dictating that all municipal water systems be treated for the Cryptospiridium parasite.
If it can't gain an exemption, the city is hoping to at least be able use a less expensive treatment plan for problem they insist does not exist.