The cooperative’s southernmost site has created a fertilizer product from the microbial treatment of wastewater. Fonterra says that tests show the treatment creates some of the most nutrient rich dairy-derived fertilizer in the country.
“Our manufacturing process produces wastewater that contains dairy solids. We use microbes to consume those solids, which in turn produce a dense liquid,” Fonterra environmental manager, Ian Goldschmidt said.
Exceeding sustainability guidelines
The fertilizer is one of three products made at the wastewater plant that benefit local farmers. Fonterra is working with new technology to turn the other by-product into stock food and the increased capacity of the new wastewater storage pond enables the cooperative to return as much water as possible to the land through irrigation.
“The role of sustainability in food production is becoming increasingly important as we look for new ways to feed the growing global population,” Goldschmidt added.
He said that the company has introduced new guidelines across the business around sustainable wastewater treatment and disposal that, in many cases, will see the environmental standards exceed what is required by regulation.
“Plants like the one at Edendale are part of a program of investment aimed at seeing Fonterra leading global industry water standards, ensuring our outputs have good environmental outcomes.”