Fonterra plans to reduce sewage discharge from Manawatū River

Fonterra requested to continue discharging treated wastewater from its Longburn treatment site into the Manawatū River.

Warwick Smith / Stuff

Fonterra requested to continue discharging treated wastewater from its Longburn treatment site into the Manawatū River.

Fonterra wants to continue discharging treated wastewater from its Longburn plant into the Manawatū River, but says it will reduce the amount entering it.

The dairy giant obtained in 2006 the authorization to discharge treated water into the river, but must submit a new application to continue the activity.

The river is known to be heavily polluted due to a combination of agricultural runoff and sewage discharges from cities.

It was infamous in 2009 that it was more polluted than 300 rivers and streams across North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand when the Cawthorn Institute released test results on a site on the river.

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This led to the Manawatū River Leaders Agreement – ​​a commitment to clean up the river – which Fonterra signed.

Fonterra’s managing director of sustainability and water and environmental resources, Ian Goldschmidt, said the company planned to release less water from Longburn into the river if given further consent.

The company has invested nearly $500 million over the next eight years to improve water quality at multiple sites, including initiatives to reduce water consumption, he said.

“Water is critical to manufacturing at our sites as we use it to maintain world-class food safety and quality standards, and to cool our products.”

According to an agenda from the Horizons regional council, Fonterra requested that the consent be notified publicly, giving people the opportunity to make submissions.

A hearing date for the consent application has not yet been set.

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