The site team developed a method of reusing water from condensation produced during the milk powder manufacturing process.
Robert Spurway, Fonterra’s COO global operations, said Pahiatua is already Fonterra New Zealand’s most water efficient site.
“As an organization, we’ve committed to a 20% reduction in water use by 2020. Pahiatua is well ahead of the game,” Spurway said.
Tracey Collis, Tararua District Council Mayor, says she is proud of the team at Fonterra and their ongoing commitment to sustainability.
“We very much appreciate the transparency and passion shown by Fonterra to continually use technological efficiencies which also have environmental benefits. This creates a win-win outcome for all,” Collis said.
The P3 milk powder plant at Pahiatua (built in 2015) was already 100% self-sufficient for water, meaning it does not use any groundwater in the manufacturing process. However, the evaporators often produced more water than was required and the excess was typically irrigated onto surrounding farmland.
Now, rather than irrigate the excess water, the new reclaimed water system treats the excess water via reverse osmosis and chlorination before combining it with the site’s main water supply for general use.
In 2017, Fonterra made six commitments to New Zealand waterways, including reducing water use (20% by 2020) and improving wastewater quality at all its manufacturing plants.