Nothing good emerges from a sewer—raccoons, alligators—so Milwaukee residents were understandably wary of the pink foam bubbling from drains in the area around the MillerCoors brewery. Local news station WISN spoke to people living in that neighborhood who say the foam has bubbled up for a while now, and that calls to officials have gone unanswered.
The residents assumed the foam had a connection to the brewery, whose employees allegedly were seen attempting to scrape the foam back into the drains.
“On occasion we have had some foam overflow from our beer production that comes up through a few sewer gates,” a MillerCoors spokesperson tells The Takeout. “We just implemented a new system that will prevent foam overflow from occurring in the future. When it has happened, we add an anti-foaming agent, and the sewer lines where this occurs is going to the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, so there is no impact to local residents.”
It appears the anti-foaming agent is what created the pinkish color. The brewery says its new procedures should stop the foam from bubbling out in the future.
Breweries have been known to overwhelm the wastewater facilities in small cities; Milwaukee is not a small city, but MillerCoors is also not a small brewery. Brewery discharge contains higher levels of sugar and proteins than normal household wastewater, so breweries must work with cities to make sure municipal sewers can process their discharge. In some cases, they’ve even constructed their own wastewater treatment facilities.
We’re not saying it’s pleasant to see brewery discharge foaming onto your street, but we’re keeping in mind it could be worse.