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Floating plant technology will protect our environment and aquaculture exports

17 December 2012

The Thames-Coromandel District Council has approved a two million dollar upgrade of the Coromandel Town Waste Water Treatment Plant, which will use Floating Media Technology (FTM) to protect the district's aquaculture industry and our environment by improving the water quality discharged into the Hauraki Gulf.

A pond using FTM 

In plain-English, FTM is a unique and environmentally friendly process that uses and improves naturally occurring processes to remove contaminants from the waste water.

As the image above illustrates, FTM involves suspending certain types of plants in sections on the treatment ponds.

These blocks of plants create and enhance an 'eco-system' for bacterial cultures (over 3000 microbes), snails and other invertebrates, which, along with the plants themselves, will help remove more of the contaminants in the wastewater than just ponds alone.

"This is a very 'Coromandel-solution' because of its sustainable qualities and one which will not only further protect our environment, but will also protect our vital aquaculture exports" said Mayor Glenn Leach.

"The United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) visited the site in 2011 and discussed with us and the regional council the plant upgrades and the discharge parameters they required if we are to export mussels to the U.S."

The project highlights the economic importance of the area and the responsibility of Council to treat the wastewater to a high standard, which ultimately ends up in the Hauraki Gulf.

Mayor Glenn Leach also said today the upgrade would save the Council over one million dollars over three years because of the new system's efficiency and lower operating costs.

Work will begin on the upgrade in early 2013.


Find out more

Visit our project webpages to find out more about this floating technology and view pictures of other waste water ponds using the system


Advantages of FTM

  • Cost-effective
  • Simple to build and operate
  • Environmentally sustainable - uses natural processes
  • Creates cleaner water to discharge and will ensure our environment and aquaculture industry are further protected
  • Enhances the area through the creation of new wildlife habitats and new ecosystems