Dairy company Fonterra is constructing an advanced plant that is set to reduce the amount of groundwater extracted for its Darfield manufacturing site by around 70%.
Based on New Zealand’s South Island, Darfield is already considered a world-leading facility, according to Fonterra. Now the company is investing $11 million in new water processing technology for the site, which is expected to have a significant impact on its environmental footprint.
“Thanks to the new plant we’ll save the equivalent of around 100 tanker loads of water every day,” said Robert Spurway, head of Fonterra’s global operations.
“As well as reducing water use, the new technology also decreases the amount of water the site discharges for irrigation. It’s a win-win situation.”
The new plant uses a reverse osmosis technique to purify the water extracted from cow’s milk during the manufacturing process. Water is passed through a membrane filtration system, which makes it drinkable and suitable for use in a range of on-site activities such as cooling, heating and cleaning.
The Darfield development aligns with Fonterra’s six water commitments to help improve the quality of New Zealand’s waterways:
- Farm within regional environmental limits.
- Encourage strong environmental farming practices.
- Reduce water use and improve wastewater quality at manufacturing plants.
- Build partnerships to improve waterway health.
- Invest in science and innovation to find new solutions.
- Make the products people value most.
“We’re prioritising investment to reduce water consumption,” said Spurway. “Last year we announced our 2020 target to reduce the amount of water we use across our 26 New Zealand manufacturing sites by 20%.
“The new plant will go a significant way toward helping us achieve our target, creating a manufacturing site that’s more self-sufficient.”
The new plant is expected to be up and running by October, in time for the 2018–2019 milk season.
| A Fonterra release || march 19, 2018 |||