OASE Intern at Widmer Brothers Brewery

  • Industry: Craft brew
  • Project Type: Wastewater improvements
  • Location: Portland, OR
  • Major: Chemical Engineering, Oregon State University




Alan Haynes worked alongside Craft Brew Alliance's Sustainability Manager to conduct a complete engineering study around wastewater improvements at Widmer Brothers Brewing.

Questions about this project? Contact Lisa Cox.



Haynes recommended both behavior-based changes and equipment purchases to limit high BOD and TSS waste from being discharged from the brewery. He also wrote a proposal for capital expenditure projects to fund these recommendations. All three projects, including the capital investments, were implemented post internship. These sustainability projects helped the craft brewery win the 2018 Most Valuable Pollution Prevention Project award from the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable.

The recommended projects have the potential to annually reduce:



Pounds of TSS Discharge



Pounds of BOD Discharge



Company Cost



Widmer Brothers Brewery, a craft brewer located in Portland, Oregon, is part of the Craft Brew Alliance, the seventh largest craft brewery in the U.S. In a brewery, waste beer, wort (i.e., unfermented beer), yeast, and grains enter the wastewater system and contribute to two parameters that indicate the concentration of pollution in water: 1) Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD), or the amount of oxygen it takes to degrade organic matter, and 2) Total Suspended Solids (TSS). Discharging wastewater with high BOD and TSS concentrations incurs costly government fees. Craft Brew Alliance is committed to continual process improvement, water conservation, and sustainability.


Haynes researched three ways to prevent high BOD and TSS effluent from going down the drain:

  1. The Brewery's waste liquids tank had a history of overflowing, causing high BOD and TSS wastewater to spill and go down the drain. Haynes found that improved communication among employees could prevent overtaxing the wastewater pump, which reduces spillage, by coordinating when they were sending their waste to the tank.
  2. After being separated from the wort, spent grains are saturated with water. The grains are dried using a dewatering system that produces discharge high in BOD and TSS, costing the company $160,000 per year in government fees. Haynes recommended that this discharge be pumped into the existing waste liquids system, as opposed to the drain.
  3. Haynes also investigated TSS monitoring equipment, and recommended a solids sensor that could be installed for real time remote discharge readings.