BPM owns and operates a range of geological deposits and manufacturing facilities. These exist in the sensitive geothermal region, known as the Taupo Volcanic Zone in the central North Island of New Zealand.
The nature of our operations has the potential to influence the ecology and communities around our facilities. We are active in making a valuable enduring contribution to the design and development of new products aimed at addressing nitrogen management issues in the farming sector, improving lake water quality and other sustainable farming initiatives.
Research to benefit the environment
BPM has partnered with Crown research institute, Scion, to develop a zeolite-based product called Aqual P, which has been used to combat algal problems in New Zealand lakes. When applied to the sediment layer in a lake, Aqual P absorbs rogue phosphorus, cutting off the food source for problematic algae.
Zeolite, in its unmodified and natural format, also enhances nutrient and moisture retention, which is good for the environment. Zeolite can also be used to soak up the nitrogen and phosphate from dairy farms; this impacts favourably in terms of minimising the impact of agriculture on streams and waterways.
Other environmentally favourable avenues are also being explored, such as the use of zeolite in waste water treatment. In this application zeolite has scope to enhance the efficiency of nitrogen and phosphate from municipal waste water processing plants.
Zeolite is one of a number of test materials currently being used on a ‘living roof’ or ‘green roof’ project at Auckland University. This has potential applications for stormwater management through runoff minisation and natural filtration.
Dairy farming in New Zealand is coming under increasing pressure to reduce its environmental footprint. Recent policy decisions by Regional Councils will require intensive dairy and horticulture to obtain resource consents that require nitrate leaching outputs to be below a threshold, dependent on land class. The challenge of identifying systems that can reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollution is currently a hot-topic.
Analysis of trial data confirms BPM zeolite based products when fed to livestock on dairy farms substantially assists in reducing urinary nitrogen. Research to determine the level of nitrogen partitioning achievable is on-going. These exciting developments pave the way for BPM to contribute to the sustainable future of the farming sector in New Zealand.
Zeolite minimising nutrient leaching
A good illustration of the use of BPM zeolite in leachate reduction is in sport stadium construction, (along with high-traffic turf zones such as golf course greens construction), where the turf profile is required to rapidly dissipate ground water. This is achieved by using sand-based turf profiles which then discharge using storm-water pipework. The ability of a sand “root zone” to trap and retain soluble nutrient cations, prior to entering storm-water discharge, is very poor. The blended addition of our graded zeolite to this sand zone dramatically improves the nutrient retention, thus minimising any nutrient leaching to waterways.
Other environmentally favourable avenues are also being explored, such as the use of zeolite in waste-water treatment. In this application zeolite has scope to enhance the efficiency of nitrogen and phosphate from municipal waste-water processing plants.
Zeolite in ‘Living Roof’ trials
When it rains, water runs off roads, paving and buildings and the run-off directly enters streams, lakes and harbours via stormwater drains. Run-off results in pollutants washing into the waterways and increases the potential for stream channels to erode.
At Auckland University, zeolite is currently one of a number of test materials being used in a project geared at managing storm water. Zeolite is being used on their “living roof /green roof” project. Living roofs have been recognised as having the potential to minimise run-off and act as natural filters for harmful nutrients and heavy metals. A technical report documenting the extensive testing and recommendations for living roof design and construction has been prepared. The report focuses on using readily-available, locally sourced materials, such as zeolite, to build living roofs for stormwater management in New Zealand.
Biogro organic certified products
Our animal feed supplements are registered as BioGro certified organic inputs. BioGro is the leading voice for organics and certification, representing and certifying over 650 organic producers, farmers and manufacturers across New Zealand and the Pacific. BioGro certify all sectors of the organics industry from dairy to winemaking, fresh fruit and veggies, beverages, baby food, cosmetics and everything in between. BioGro certification is internationally recognised and accredited.
BPM company director Paul Tidmarsh has encouraged native planting at BPM’s site. This has hardly been a small scale endeavour - more than 4000 native shrubs, grasses and trees have been planted on an expansive landscaped area behind the main building on the South Site.
This was not an unusual move for Paul – he planted a kauri forest on one of his previous farms. He values the natural environment and wants to enhance it, and so, land remediation is a BPM priority.
The ability of zeolite to adsorb heavy metals and to treat groundwater has opened up markets where contaminants have restricted full use of land. There is abundant documentation available about the use of zeolites in the remediation of soil and ground water from radioactive contamination - from Long Island and Chernoble, to as recently as the Fukushima earthquake and tidal wave. Closer to home, soils and ground water containing heavy metals can be satisfactorily treated with granular zeolite.