29 Oct 2010

Fonterra looking at alternatives on waste dumping

5:47 pm on 29 October 2010

Fonterra says it is looking at alternatives to dumping waste into a Tararua river following a backlash from the community.

The dairy cooperative dumps two million litres a day of milk powder waste from its Pahiatua Dairy Factory into the Mangatainoka River, a tributary of the contaminated Manawatu River.

It has been seeking resource consents to continue doing so for 22 years, shifting its dumping site to the Mangatainako River in five years' time.

However, in a statement issued on Friday, Fonterra says following community consultation two months ago it has decided to seek alternatives, such as irrigating to land or diverting the waste through the local waste treatment plant.

The Manawatu-Whanganui regional council says Fonterra had been given until February next year to come up with other options.

Fonterra was one of several groups which signed the Manawatu River Accord in August, an agreement to clean up the river.

The company's general manager of sustainable production, John Hutchings, says it is still committed to the goals of the accord.

Mr Hutchings says the Resource Management Act is recognised as a vehicle to assess and manage environmental effects, and its consent application is subject to this process.