Digging Deeper: MillerCoors' effort to conserve water - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Digging Deeper: MillerCoors' effort to conserve water

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Many industries are cutting back these days, but production is up 20-percent at Albany's MillerCoors plant.

That means they're using more water.

Even though there's plenty of water in the aquifer, MillerCoors is conscious of south Georgia's drought.

A conservation plan is expected to save as much as 70-million gallons of water this year alone.

Water, it's the main ingredient in every product the Albany MillerCoors plant brews. The company is committed to being a good steward of the resource, so they're making changes to their production lines, changes that include the Ionic Air Compressor.

"That uses a charged air compressed jet to clean the cans and by not using water we expect that to save four million gallons of water a year just on that one unit," said Dave Dixon, MillerCoors Environmental Engineer.

The air riser is being tested here in Albany and will likely be rolled out to other breweries nationwide. Another trial is just ending on a dry lube distribution line, that previously used a constant stream of soapy water to move cases through the brewery.

"By getting a different kind of lubrication it doesn't use water, you're not constantly spraying water on those conveyors," said Dixon.

If MillerCoors can find a market to recycle it they will. Everything from cans, to the straps on cases, to the inside of shrink wrap tubes.

"We recycle over 99 percent of all of our waste, not just recycling water and using gray water," said Dixon.

"We've invested a significant amount of money in this brewery in the three years since the joint venture," said Timothy Dill MillerCoors Albany Brewery V.P.

Over the last three years the plant's replaced the lighting making it more energy efficient. They're adding to their fleet of battery powered rechargeable robots to not only move pallets of product around the warehouse, but to soon load trucks.

"We're looking at adding a new fleet of robots which we'll also have to do trials on and they'll load the trucks now," said Dixon.

It's all in an effort to save between 50 and 70 million gallons of water this year alone, a big accomplishment for the Albany plant and one they're willing to raise a can or bottle to celebrate.

Gray or used water from the plant is also used to care for the 600 acre hay farm and 700 acre tree farm on MillerCoors property.

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