(Havre Herald) The federal government recently honored the city of Havre for using an innovative method to clean up the discharge that comes from the Wastewater Treatment Plant into the Milk River.

The method involves waste barley mash, or beer slurry, from local breweries.

The new approach means the city will not have to fork over an estimated $1 million for treatment upgrades to meet tightening regulations.

The Environmental Protection Agency presented the award to the city for its idea of dumping yeast slurry, most of which comes from one of Havre’s local breweries, Triple Dog Brewing Co., into the waste as it enters the plant.

The superintendent of the wastewater treatment plant, Drue Newfield, said that after the mixture goes through processes in the plant, the water that is discharged into the Milk River is so clean it is “almost drinking water,” meaning the next municipality getting its water from the river will have much cleaner water.

The EPA included Havre’s wastewater system among its list of honorable mentions:

“These improvements have allowed the facility to continuously meet all permit effluent limits and has significantly improved the operability, reliability, and treatment capability of the facility,” said Newfield.

The upgrades have greatly improved the quality of wastewater effluent discharged to the Milk River, particularly with respect to nutrient levels and ammonia toxicity.

Read the full story at the Havre Herald.