Brewery system​​​​​​Brewery Discharges

The City of Virginia Beach Department of Public Utilities, along with Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD), monitors the amount of potentially hazardous substances in the sanitary sewer system. Discharges from the brewery tank cleaning and sanitation processes can include contaminants, such as acids and high strength cleaners. These substances can generate odors and corrode the sanitary sewer system. High or low pH from caustics and acids may cause damage to treatment facilities, sanitary sewer collection systems, sanitary sewer pump stations and be the cause of costly repairs to city infrastructure. The Department of Public Utilities is committed to working with you to ensure applicable codes are met and the sanitary sewer system is not damaged.​

Meet the Code

The City of Virginia Beach Sewer Use Ordinance Section 28.66 and Code of Federal Regulations Title 40, part 403 set forth the requirements for brewery wastewater discharges.

Disposal Methods

Moderate pH Levels:

Any wastewater having a pH less than 5.0 s.u. or greater than 12.5 s.u., or having corrosive property, is prohibited from being discharged to the sanitary sewer system. 

Liquid wastes from cleaning and pH sterilizing activities must be collected, tested for pH, and adjusted to a pH between 5.0 s.u. and 12.5 s.u. before discharge. The City recommends that the wastewater/cleaning discharge pH be measured (using pH test strips or an electronic pH measurement device) and recorded in a log book as well as the date, time, chemicals used and estimated volume of each discharge.

Caustic solutions, which have a high pH, can be treated by adding mild acids such as vinegar or citric acid and mixing or bubbling carbon dioxide through the solution before discharge. 

Acid solutions, which have a low pH, can be treated by adding baking soda or a weak calcium carbonate (lime) solution.

Other ways to moderate pH levels in liquids include the use of manual cleaning methods such as scrubbing with scrub pads, using other non-chemical cleaners, and avoiding the use of chlorinated chemicals.

In lieu of pH adjustment or in the event that the wastes are deemed unsuitable for sanitary sewer discharge, appropriate alternative disposal methods must be undertaken and the disposal receipt/manifest copy must be maintained on-site for a minimum period of three years.

Records Keeping

The Department of Public Utilities recommends that records are kept that document the date, time, chemicals used, pH levels, and estimated volume of each waste water discharge from cleaning or sanitation cycles. This log book should be made available for review by the City of Virginia Beach or HRSD personnel at all times. All records should be kept a minimum of three years. ​


For additional information: HRSD's Best Management Practice (BMP) for Alcohol Beverage Manufacturing



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