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Natural Nutrient Removal Taupo District Land Disposal Scheme

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The consequences of Nitrogen pollution in New Zealand have now become well known and the need for further research in the area of nitrogen pollution, particularly in regards to nitrogen leaching to groundwater and runoff into waterways is becoming increasingly evident. In particular nutrient runoff as a result of intensive farming across all rural areas of New Zealand is causing significant eutrophication resulting from a substantial increase from nutrients released into the ecosystem this presents a challenge for regulators to determine what are appropriate nitrogen loading or nitrogen loading rates for the disposal of wastewaters.

Taupo District Council recently expanded its land disposal scheme to minimise nutrient inputs from point source discharges into the Lake Taupo and Waikato River catchments. A combined scheme now has the potential to irrigate up to 12,000 m3/d of treated wastewater effluent across almost 500 hectares of farmland around the periphery of the Taupo urban area. The cut and carry haylage crop is bailed and sold to farmers as part of this sustainable reuse initiative and helps to fund the scheme which now represents the largest municipal wastewater irrigation scheme in New Zealand. Taupo District Council has shown, through this initiative, its commitment to meet with the requirements of the Lake Taupo 20/20 Taupo-nui-a-Tia Action Plan programme agreed to by Taupo District Council, Environment Waikato and Ngati Tuwharetoa iwi (local representatives of New Zealand's indigenous people). This programme seeks a 20% reduction of manageable nitrogen inputs into the Lake by the year 2020.
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Keywords: New Zealand; Nitrogen; cut and carry; land disposal; wastewater disposal

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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