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Being the oldest brewery in America, the Yuengling Brewery has enjoyed a long tradition and history, and is an American success story. The family owned Yuengling Brewery has been brewing beer in Pottsville, PA since 1829 with the original brewery located within the city limits. As brewery production increased in the early 1990's, the brewery expanded the plant into the limited area available in the city.

Taking advantage of the phenomenal growth experienced by the regional brewery, Yuengling wanted to again expand production in the late 1990's; but due to space limitations, couldn't do so at their city location in Pottsville. The brewery decided to expand by building a new brewery at a site in Port Carbon located on the outskirts of the city.

During this same time period, the EPA imposed a consent decree on the City of Pottsville WWTP. As the brewery would be contributing the majority of the organic load going to the city treatment plant, it was determined that the brewery wastewater would need to be pretreated.

The City determined that high rate anaerobic treatment would be the best pretreatment process for the brewery wastewater at Yuengling. Consequently, the City was successful in procuring a state grant to build a high-rate anaerobic plant at the new Yuengling brewery site. Under this financial arrangement, the City would own the pretreatment system while the brewery would be responsible for its operation.

Biothane Corporation of Camden, New Jersey was selected to provide its high rate Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Bed (UASB) process on a turnkey basis. The wastewater pretreatment plant was constructed at the same time the new brewery was being built and was able to treat wastewater shortly after the brewery startup.

This paper describes the selected technology and discusses the process design parameters, system components and system performance for the Yuengling Brewery application. The system has been in continuous operation for two and a half years and reduces the wastewater BOD5 concentration by close to 90%.

The resulting load reduction to the City's WWTP has enabled the City to accept the pretreated wastewater without the need to expand its own facility. This project is a real life demonstration of how the collaborative partnering efforts between local government and industry can overcome both economic and technical issues associated with environmental compliance.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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