Can the RCSD Add Gyppo to Their System?
This is a really good question. A question that has been on Josh and I's mind the last few months and I imagine it has been on the RCSD board and staff's as well. Can the Redway Community Service District take on an industrial wastewater client? We would like to leave it to the expert, the industry professionals to decide.
We believe that the Gyppo Ale Mill already has a couple elements to support them being serviced by the Redway Community Service District:
So what exactly is the problem?
The problem is that beer is not the only thing that comes out of breweries. High strength waste is the other major product being produced by a brewery. Why is wastewater such a huge issue? Well, the wastewater is made up of sugars, yeast and proteins. None of this is toxic but it is very concentrated. If you put too much of it into a wastewater system, it will overfeed the bacteria and this will suck all the oxygen out of the water and kill the microbes breaking down a fragile process.
In addition, the Redway Community Service District wastewater facility is a very small service district with limited resources. Kenneth Dean has been doing an amazing job at getting the most out of this system. But a capacity study done last month has brought up numerous red flags for upgrades that need to be addressed immediately.
“It is the opinion of Waterworks Engineers … that these issues should be addressed before substantial service connections are made.”
And this brings us to Gyppo and what the definition of substantial services means in terms of the amount of wastewater we will be adding to the system.
When Josh and I first started attending the monthly Redway Community Service Districts meetings over one year ago, the board was put on high alert by the introduction that Gyppo was given. Our project was introduced to the board by means of a comparison between Gyppo Ale Mill and Lagunitas Brewery in Petaluma. This would be fantastic comparison if it was close to reality but Gyppo will be lucky, if in our first year of production, we brew and sell 1,000 barrels of beer. Lagunitas on the other hand, is so incredibly successful that they now brew over 600,000 barrels of beer per year.
As you can see from the math, we are in two very different categories. It is for this reason that we will be asking the Reway Community Service District to please allow industry professionals, i.e. wastewater engineers, to determine if Gyppo Ale Mill will be a substantial service customer. This was never specifically addressed in the capacity study. Adding $100,000 to $200,000 of wastewater treatment equipment onsite, when there is a possibility that RCSD wastewater facility could handle it, feels like it is a question that needs to be answered before we proceed. Better use of this money could allow the whole of the Redway community to benefit rather than installing equipment that will only benefit Gyppo Ale Mill.
Through out our research for this brewery project, Josh and I have run into some very generous and caring folks within the craft beer industry that are willing to share their knowledge and experience. One of these folks is Neal Carnem. He is part owner of Mad River Brewing and a wastewater engineer located in Eureka.
During the time that the capacity study was taking place, Neal was kind enough to be giving us feed back on our business plan. When we got news of the studies unfortunate results, we phoned him up right away and passed along the capacity study done by Waterworks Engineers. After reviewing the results, he was able to give us some valuable feedback and advice from his own personal experience and knowledge.
Mad River Brewery ran into a similar situation with the Blue Lake municipality when the brewery decided that they wanted to expand production and the plant realized that they needed to do upgrades. Carnem was able to get their board to agree to allow him to consult with the engineering firm, SHN Engineering, which did the upgrades. Between the two of them they were able to come up with cost effective solutions that were mutually beneficial for both the brewery and city as a whole. In the end, with the help of grants and no-interest loans from Blue Lake Rancheria, The California Water Environment Association awarded Blue Lake with Wastewater Treatment Plant of the Year for the North Coast region.
We understand that by adding our brewery into the Redway Community Service District wastewater facility we create more headache for the board and staff but we believe that it will be well worth the effort to have the craft brewery industry in Southern Humboldt. It is economical development that this community has given us feedback that they both want and need.
And if you haven't heard us spout it before, here it is again. We plan to follow in the footsteps of craft breweries both around the country and locally that believe in being very involved with our community through philanthropy, product donation, volunteerism and sponsorship of events.
Please consider joining us this Wednesday (10/22) at 7pm for the RCSD monthly board meeting. The meeting take place at 1150 Evergreen road next to everyone favorite alternative energy store, Greenwired.