PROVIDENCE – At a workshop organized by the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the Rhode Island Brewers Guild, Rhode Island's craft brewing industry and state environmental regulators will exchange ideas about making great beer in an ecologically friendly way, connecting the industry to resources to run the greenest possible operations, and expanding the industry in the Ocean State. The event will be held Monday, October 21, from 9 AM to 1 PM in Room 300 at DEM headquarters at 235 Promenade Street, Providence.
It is an example of how DEM helps industries achieve compliance with regulations through collaboration. "Rhode Island craft breweries make some amazing products, and we want to help them do that in the most environmentally beneficial way possible," said Terry Gray, DEM's Deputy Director of Environmental Protection.
There are more than 25 craft brewers in Rhode Island some of whom already are using innovative practices to keep yeast and hops out of the wastewater stream. Yeast and hops can upset the biological balance inside municipal wastewater treatment plants, which are designed primarily to treat domestic wastewater such as used water from houses and apartments.
"The Rhode Island Brewers Guild and its 28 member breweries and brewpubs are excited to collaborate with RI DEM and other state agencies to address concerns regarding proper wastewater treatment," said Gary Richardson, the nonprofit organization's Executive Director. "There is the very real possibility that together we will turn the challenges into a plus, like producing beneficial byproducts from the solids or joining the Rhode Island seafood industry in a statewide treatment program. The DEM workshop is a great catalyst for combining forces and turning what could have been a detriment into an asset. And then our brewers can get back to doing what they do best – make outstanding beer!
Speakers include scientists and engineers from DEM's Office of Water Resources, Office of Customer and Technical Assistance, and Green Hospitality Program. Representatives of the RI Commerce Corporation and RI Infrastructure Bank will speak about state assistance, resources, and financing options for brewers to run greener operations. Another segment focuses on how to connect with local food and farming programs, with remarks from RI's Director of Food Strategy and the Chief of DEM's Division of Agriculture. A representative of the US Environmental Protection Agency's Region I Office in Boston will close the event by sharing success stories from around New England.
The Rhode Island Brewers Guild is the official brewery association in Rhode Island, existing to support and promote craft breweries. The organization is the exclusive distributor of the Rhode Island Brewery Passport.
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