As Fonterra works to prioritise the reduction or re-use of water at its manufacturing sites, the Co-op is investing $51 million to improve wastewater processing at their Te Awamutu site in the Waikato.
Fonterra Te Awamutu Operations Manager Russell Muir says the extensive wastewater upgrade is positive step for the site and is key to the Co-op’s long-term sustainability goals.
“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. Our target is to improve wastewater management at our manufacturing sites by taking a leading industry approach.”
Construction on the project began last year, and while COVID-19 has presented some challenges over the course of the project, stage one construction has just been finished and environmental performance has already significantly improved.
This is the second major sustainability project the site has undertaken in recent years. Earlier this year it completed its first season on wood pellets rather than coal – helping the Co-op reduce its carbon emissions by more than 11% last year.
The upgrade at Te Awamutu is one of the first wastewater projects being run by a newly established Wastewater Community. This new community is a partnership made up of key industry partners including PDP, Babbage, Beca, Vertex Engineers, Aurecon, Tetra Pak, Fulton Hogan and TEG.
Over the next 10 years, these partners will work together to share knowledge and expertise to make improvements on subsequent projects. This will ultimately help the Co-op to deliver on its environmental promises, by improving its existing wastewater management and performance.
Fonterra General Manager Water & Environment Ian Goldschmidt says the Co-op believes that a leading industry approach to wastewater quality requires a truly collaborative attitude.
“We know that we will need to do things differently to achieve our goals and are excited to have developed this cross-industry partnership, bringing together a well-respected group of subject matter experts. Water is precious taonga and it is up to all of us to do our bit to protect this valuable resource for Aotearoa.” said Mr. Goldschmidt.
“Throughout the project at Te Awamutu, we will be continuously looking for ways to improve– not only to implement within this project, but to share our knowledge with the wider Wastewater Community team”
The Wastewater Community are committed in helping the Co-op to deliver 14 quality wastewater projects and have set themselves an ambitious set of goals to achieve over the next few years.
Tetra Pak Key Account Director Julie Evans says the company is truly grateful to be part of the Fonterra Wastewater community.
“It gives our teams the opportunity to demonstrate our capabilities and competencies to foster continual innovation and development to improve wastewater processing throughout Aotearoa. We look forward to building upon the efforts and successes from the project at Te Awamutu and applying them to other projects within the programme.”
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