The Olive Press in Greytown has geared up for an expected 400-tonne olive crop coming off the trees this week - with a new waste separator to protect the town's sewerage system.
Installer Ian Murray, of Apex Environmental, said the three-phase gravity separator leaves any solid waste in the bottom, to be cleared periodically and reused as compost.
Residual fats and oils are separated off the top, where the option remains for further refining for uses such as soaps, according to operations manager Bill Hey of the Olive Press.
The remaining processed liquid waste goes into the Greytown wastewater stream.
"It siphons off during the day ... to stop it shockloading the system once a day," Mr Murray said.
The Olive Press managing director Bruce McCallum said this year will be a bumper harvest.
The new system "will eliminate any possible adverse impact on the South Wairarapa District Council settling ponds, as well as separating residual waste for further processing, for example into compost", he said.
The Olive Press is on an industrial site owned by Greytown Lands Trust, which has a large wastewater receptacle that was causing problems with volume at the treatment plant.
"The way it was set up, previously, it was discharging only when it was full, so in addition to installing the separator we've recalibrated it. The combination of the two is lessening that impact."
The Olive Press operations manager Bill Hey said the press is expecting a 400-tonne local crop of olives, all of which need to be processed within 24 hours.
"Without us, where would they go? It's a bit of a challenge."
Last week the Olive Press was named as a finalist in the Wellington Gold Business Awards, in the emerging business products category.
The citation notes that almost half the medal winners at last year's Olive New Zealand Awards "were extracted by their huge Italian centrifugal press".
- Rival Wealth, Schoc Chocolates and Totarol - Mende Biotech were also named as finalists in the Wellington Gold Business Awards.
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