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Innovative Thinking Brings Environmental Award

4 September 2006

Innovative Thinking Brings Environmental Award For Fonterra

An innovative wastewater treatment process has won Fonterra the Waikato Sustainable Business Network's WEL Networks-sponsored Sustainable Innovation Award.

The company received the award at the recent Waikato Sustainable Business Awards.

Developed by Fonterra's Environmental Strategy team, the Anoxic Treatment Process significantly reduces the nitrate levels of treated wastewater, as well as saving power.

Wastewater from the Tirau site is deposited into ponds, where it is broken down by bacteria using oxygen. By turning off the aerators that supply oxygen to the wastewater ponds, the new process forces the bacteria to use oxygen from the nitrate molecules present in the water. This has led to a reduction in algae growth in neighbouring waterways and has also cut energy consumption by reducing the need to use aerators to preserve the solids in the wastewater during the off-season.

Sustainable Business Network National Chairperson Chris Morrison said the Fonterra initiative would create "exceptional environmental outcomes".

Fonterra's Environmental Manager for Biological Treatment Systems, Ron Hamilton, said the initiative was a great illustration of the work Fonterra was doing to develop manufacturing processes that were both economically and environmentally sustainable. The process is being installed at the company's Edendale site and there are plans to introduce it at Waitoa as well.

The Sustainable Business Award was a tribute to Fonterra's drive for continuous environmental improvement and its openness to innovative projects, Mr Hamilton said.

"If Board and management weren't prepared to back these projects then the projects would not get off the ground. It is because the company is willing to financially support promising environmental initiatives that we are able to see the benefits of sustainable processes being realised."


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