Michael and Jewelle Schiedel-Webb second and third from left gave a tour of their new brewery on Thursday Oct. 6 2016. The tour primarily dealt with their waste management. Breweries need to be careful about what they release into the environment due to the high BOD (biological oxygen demand) content of the wastewater. JENN WATT Staff

Haliburton Highlands Brewing expands

By Jenn Watt

Published Oct. 11 2016

The success of Haliburton Highlands Brewing was beyond what owners Jewelle and Michael Schiedel-Webb expected when they opened on the Abbey Gardens property back in May 2014.

They had no way of predicting how popular their craft beer would be opening a pilot site that soon proved to be far too small for the new company.

“We were shocked how much traffic there was” says Jewelle.

To meet the demand the Schiedel-Webbs have constructed a new brewery and retail space just down the road from their old location allowing them to produce far more than before – from one hectolitre in the pilot site to 18 in the new brewhouse.

With a greatly increased capacity comes new challenges and on Thursday Oct. 6 Haliburton Highlands Brewing and Abbey Gardens held a special session with Bloom an organization focused on sustainable practices in business.

In particular the event focused on how the brewery would dispose of wastewater coming from the site. Addressing that topic was Kevin Jones of Bloom who said his organization has been working with the craft beer industry for the last two years.

He said breweries tend to focus mostly on producing good tasting beer and less on what to do with water energy and wastewater management.

“What happens is they start to grow production they start to grow wastewater volumes they start to grow their problems” he said.

“What we’re trying to do is show there are better ways to actually be able to do this. It’s not as complicated as you may think it is and it really comes down to what we say: use less water and keep stuff out of the drain. If you can do those two things well you’re way ahead of the game already” he said.

According to BreweryWastewater.com the water that flows out of a brewery typically is high in sugar alcohol solids has low pH and high temperature. Sugar and alcohol increase the BOD or “biological oxygen demand.”

“Untreated wastewater in the river causes nutrient pollution leading to large algae blooms in the rivers and depleting the water of oxygen the fish need to breathe” the site reads.

Bloom encourages breweries not to wash waste down the drains and to divert solids from the sewer systems.

However at Haliburton Highlands Brewing there is no sewer system which offered a different challenge for the Schiedel-Webbs.

With the new brewery they were able to create an enhanced septic system with a greywater tank and a black water (sewage) tank that feed into the pump chamber and then onto the tile bed. There is a separate holding tank for yeast.

Jewelle gave a presentation to the group about the system’s design noting that HHB was lucky to be part of the Abbey Gardens complex which gave them the benefit of space and ideal conditions for the tile bed.

The intention is to have greywater reused in other capacities around Abbey Gardens. They are currently in discussions about what to do with the yeast from the holding tank which will either be pumped for field spreading or taken to a sewage system.

They are also considering a biodigester with Abbey Gardens.

Some of these measures were already in place at the pilot site Jewelle said such as an above ground holding tank for yeast but this new set up offers more possibilities and allows their operation to expand sustainably.

“Working with Bloom is a tremendous asset” said Jewelle who noted the organization provided free technical resources that were much needed for a start-up business.

The brewery’s expansion is partially thanks to grant funding from the Haliburton County Development Corporation which helped them access the Eastern Ontario Development Program funding. They’ve also received a Growing Forward 2 grant from the province.