• Our Edgecumbe site

Our Edgecumbe site

Edgecumbe is located in the heart of the Rangitāiki Plains, in the Bay of Plenty. We’ve had a site here for 100 years (est. 1923).
Edgecumbe Site

Our Edgecumbe site specialises in producing high-value products –anhydrous milk fat, casein and caseinates, whey protein concentrate, milk minerals and lipids.

Edgecumbe is one of only two sites in New Zealand that manufactures sodium caseinate for Fonterra’s customers to use in a variety of nutritional products. It is also the only site that produces calcium caseinate.

We employ about 380 people at the site, who are actively involved in the local community – supporting education, the environment and emergency care.

Treated process wastewater

We’re committed to doing what’s right for the long-term sustainability of the Co-op and our communities both environmentally and financially. One area that’s a focus for us is water.

At all our manufacturing sites, we take steps to make sure our plants are operating as efficiently and effectively as possible with limited impact on the environment. Treated process wastewater is a result of our manufacturing cleaning procedures and small amounts of milk residue that is then either used on our nutrient management farms or disposed of as per consent conditions.

In addition to treating process wastewater, where we can see there’s opportunities to save water, we are investing in water saving initiatives at a number of our sites throughout the country.

Learn about how Fonterra treats water from factories.

What we are doing

The treatment of process wastewater starts with our operations.

We make sure our cleaning processes are optimised and milk residue is minimised. This limits the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous and other organic components in the water.

We use a range of treatment processes to clarify and clean the wastewater before we irrigate onto nutrient management farms or discharge it once treated in accordance with our consent.

Currently, wastewater that is discharged to the river from our Edgecumbe site passes through a dissolved air floatation (DAF) unit that removes contaminants from the water. These plants clarify process wastewater by releasing dissolved air under pressure, which attaches to suspended fats and solids as it rises to the surface of the DAF tank, removing them from the process wastewater.

Wastewater is also irrigated onto local farms where it provides water and nutrients to the grass.

Why we need a new process wastewater treatment facility


Edgecumbe is in the process of gaining consent to develop a new process wastewater treatment plant.

We are committed to improving the quality of our process waste water. We will achieve this through both ongoing in plant improvements and the construction and commissioning of a wastewater treatment plant.

We believe this will improve our environmental outcomes with minimal impact to the community.

Over the next 12 months we will be working on finalising the plans and are aiming to finish this project by mid 2026.

Reducing water use and improving wastewater at our manufacturing sites is a key part of our long term strategy, and over the next eight years the Co-op will invest around $600 million on improvements throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.


Project Timeline:
December 2022

Consent lodgment

Early 2023

Consent processing

Early 2024

Construction commences

Early 2026

Construction and commissioning is complete

July 2026

WWTP Operational

What the facility will do

At the new facility process wastewater will flow through a tank, segregated into several sections, where microorganisms break down any organic matter (mainly milk residue) and reduce nitrogen (including nitrates) and phosphorous from the process wastewater.

The water then goes through a clarifying process where the microorganisms settle out and are returned to the treatment tanks, leaving clear treated process wastewater.

When soil conditions are suitable the treated process wastewater is irrigated onto our nutrient management farms or onto other third-party farms within the region.

When soil conditions don’t allow for irrigation, it goes through a final treatment step to remove any potential bacteria.

Our nutrient management farms

We own 29 farms throughout the country around our manufacturing sites to help us with our treatment of wastewater from our manufacturing operations and nutrient management.

At Edgecumbe we utilise 2 of these farms, as well as a number of third-party farms within the region

Process wastewater from our factories can be irrigated onto grasses and other crops to help them grow.

Where we don’t have stock on the farms, we harvest the crops to turn into animal feed. This creates a circular model for nutrient management, which provides us with a system that is good for the environment as well as the business.

References and Reports

Edgecumbe Community Meeting Slides

March Community Meeting Minutes

Edgecumbe Community Meeting Slides

September Community Meeting Minutes

March Community Meeting Minutes

Edgecumbe Community Meeting Slides

Memo - Hautapu WWTP MRA Summary

Edgecumbe - NIWA Assessment of Bioaerosols 2018

Edgecumbe Community Meeting Slides

Edgecumbe WWTP Meeting - Minutes

BOPRC Consent Applications & AEE

Appendix A - BOPRC Form 2A (Earthworks)

Appendix A - BOPRC Form 4C (Discharge Contaminants to Air)

Appendix A - BOPRC Resource Consent Application Details Form

Appendix B - Records of Title

Appendix C - Concept WWTP Plans

Appendix D - Residential Development Plan

Appendix E - Odour Assessment Report

Appendix F - Concept Stormwater & Flood Management Assessment Report

Appendix G - Preliminary Site Investigation Report

Appendix H - Alternative Sites Report

Appendix I - Whakatane District Council Activity Status Assessment

Appendix J – Summary of Consultation

WDC Land Use Consent Application & AEE

Appendix A - Whakatane District Council Consent Application Form

Appendix B - Records of Title

Appendix C - Concept WWTP Plans

Appendix D - Residential Development Plan

Appendix E - Concept Stormwater & Flood Management Assessment Report

Appendix F - Preliminary Site Investigation Report

Appendix G - Alternative Sites Report

Appendix H - Integrated Transportation Assessment Report

Appendix I - Noise Report

Appendix J - BOPRC Activity Status Assessment

Appendix K - Landscape, Natural Character and Visual Assessment Report

Appendix L – Summary of Consultation

Contact us for more information