Off Beat Taking recycling to new heights … in Earths orbit

first_imgHow on Earth could somebody propose using water from a sewage treatment plant for brewing beer?Well, Mike Barratt can vouch for the process of turning human urine into a refreshing beverage — although to be precise, he wasn’t on Earth at the time.Also, Barratt didn’t get to drink beer … and rat urine may have been involved.The Camas native has made two trips to the International Space Station as an astronaut. In 2009, Barratt was part of a milestone in space technology. He and two crewmates drank a toast with recycled urine.“We don’t have an abundant water supply,” Barratt explained during a 2010 visit to Liberty Middle School in Camas.With a water recovery system that recycles urine, sweat and other moisture back into drinking water, “You turn yesterday’s Kool-Aid into tomorrow’s Kool-Aid,” the astronaut said.Now Northwest brewers might tap that keg. A wastewater treatment agency is so proud of the purity of its output that it wants craft brewers to use the water.The Oregon Health Authority has approved; two more hurdles remain, including a Department of Environmental Quality hearing Thursday. If the DEQ approves, the Environmental Quality Commission will make the final call.last_img