New wastewater treatment technology at Fonterra’s Edendale site in New Zealand is allowing Fonterra to make fertiliser from dairy wastewater that is being used on local pastures.

The co-operative’s southernmost site has created a fertiliser product from the microbial treatment of wastewater. Fonterra says tests show the treatment creates some of the most nutrient rich dairy-derived fertiliser 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 fertiliser 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 livestock feed and the increased capacity of the new wastewater storage pond enables the co-operative 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.

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 such as 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.” – Dairy Reporter