Love your river

12 March 2013

Palmerston North City Council is launching an education campaign aimed at improving the health of the city’s water ways.

Sustainable and economic development project coordinator William van Ausdal says the aim of the Love Your River campaign is to highlight the link between river health and water use.

"We want everyone to understand the link and take action to improve the health of our rivers and the wider environment."

William van Ausdal says 80% of nutrients enter water ways from agricultural, natural and urban runoff, however phosphorous from point sources (commercial, industrial and domestic use) are a significant source of the total load.

Research shows that up to 30% of phosphorous in domestic waste water derives from domestic laundry products, dishwashing detergents and food scraps (DEFRA 2008).

William van Ausdal says there are a number of ways for waste water treatment plants to remove phosphorous including chemical and biological treatments. However this is at considerable cost, something which Palmerston North City Council is experiencing at present.

"By shifting consumer habits towards phosphorous-free detergents and composting food scraps, we have the potential to reduce phosphorous loads to waste water treatment plants, the load in the treated discharge and reduce operational costs."