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Water, water everywhere...

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Meanwhile, Glen works through the paperwork...

Ring, ring.

“Damn phone” mutters Glen and picks it up.

“Oh hi Glen, it’s your local politician here. Just wanted to let you know a local activist has taken up the cause against your distillery.”

Ah, for fucks sake, only 30 days to the deadline. Now what? thinks Glen, then asks politely. “What’s the problem?"

“Water” responds the politician cheerfully.


“Yep, apparently you’re going to use it all. Probably pollute the rest. Riled the masses. Look for a negative letter to the editor in the next local newspaper edition. Good luck!”  

Glen stares into space morosely. What now? How do you counter that?

That’s a tough one. Not easy to overcome, because you are dealing with something you can not possibly control when you are a tiny operation.

Its also a great example of one of the little barriers that need to be overcome that no one thinks of - even during the business planning.

Not to say we didn’t think water - we have an ongoing discussion with our local heath department regarding the water. But, that is mostly around the issues of potability and serving water to the public. So things like heavy metals, arsenic, hydrocarbons, etc are tested for and the septic and waste water all come under their purview. So, we thought we were covered.

What I’ve learned in response to the opposition, is that here in BC Canada, we have a newly enacted ‘Water Sustainability Act‘ which requires all users of water from wells, streams, lakes, etc to get a water usage license. 

This means you have to submit an application and a hefty $1k+ fee (yet another fee that helps add up to the $500k you didn’t think you needed to spend) to get such a license.

Once the application goes in, you have a government inspector come out and review the operation, how your usage will affect other users, natives etc. In the end, it is quite the process and will no doubt take some time, possibly months to complete.

The upside of this process is that it knocks the local government out of the equation and so local complaints about water are not considered in the final zoning amendment no matter how much the opponents yell.

Whew! That was a close one. Next?!

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Moving review from one agency to another, worked for our distillery in a dif way.

State Dept of Health got interested in our water usage as hazmat and sent our permit request to the State EPA. State EPA reviewed our processes and commended us on our "Green" stance.

We reuse all cooling water indefinitely, we use hot stillage for next mashing while it's hot (saving water and energy), separating solids for animal feed and compost... EPA was happy, recused itself and we had permit in a week.

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