Skip to main content

Regulations are beginning to be enforced in all regions of New Zealand. At present, eClean is focusing on the Canterbury region, given that it has the highest water contamination levels in the whole of New Zealand. The Canterbury Regional Council have drawn up the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan (LWRP), which will come into effect in 2020. Under this plan, farmers in the Selwyn region must reduce nitrogen losses by 30% by 2022 and by 15% in the Hinds region, by 2025.


The problem for farmers

Farmers are subject to these new regulations, however, there are no solutions available on the market to help them meet compliance without facing significant financial loss. At present, the only way for farmers to reduce nitrates enough to meet compliance is to reduce stock numbers or fertiliser use, impacting productivity. Stock numbers have the greater impact, as the urine contributes more to nitrate leaching than fertiliser use.

The average dairy farm in Canterbury is leaching 42kg/ha of nitrate into the water and under the new obligations, this needs to be reduced by 20-30%. With the average dairy farm size in Canterbury being 230 ha, farmers will need to reduce leaching of between 1.9 – 2.9 tonnes of nitrates  into water per year.

To achieve this nitrate leaching reduction, and have immediate effect, a farmer would need to remove 100 cows from their farm. Each cow makes approximately NZ $6.7/day in milk solids, so removing 100 livestock units creates a total annual loss of NZ $244,000 in productivity, per farm. Similarly in the Waikato region, farmers would need a herd reduction of at least 10% to meet compliance targets.

“There are parts of the country which ultimately have had to limit dairy cattle simply as the only way of reducing nitrates…” – Dr. Alistair Humphrey, RNZ, 01-09-19

The Technology Solution eClean

E-Clean has developed a technology solution that has the ability to remove nitrates and other contaminant nutrients from contained water bodies. The bioreactor system works to break down the contaminants and convert them into useful nutrient forms, recycling nutrients back onto the farm during the process. As well as removal, the system has  incorporated sensors to provide farmers with real-time data and remote monitoring of relative nutrient levels in water and calculated nitrogen losses. With this system, farmers will be able to capture clear and accurate data that can be used as evidence for meeting compliance targets.

Two E-Clean units have the ability to remove up to 85% of the nitrates and phosphates entering the system. Therefore, with the E-Clean device, farmers could retain a full herd and still meet compliance targets.


Additional value to other parties

For E-Clean, the aggregated data has the option to not only inform new research and development and predict sales revenues; but to assist with providing data driven insights to industry and Government bodies regarding overall water quality and management.


  • eClean removes Nitrates,
  • Monitors the health of Waterways,
  • Provides real time data about water quality to both farmer and Government bodies.

Leave a Reply