Repairs underway after milk silo collapse in Edendale


Fonterra says it will take a few weeks to repair damage at its Edendale plant, following the collapse of a raw milk silo on Friday afternoon.

Fonterra global operations chief operating officer Robert Spurway said the majority of the plant is now back in operation after the collapse that damaged a metal pipe-bridge and caused milk to leak across the Southland site.

Fonterra insists there was no explosion during the incident, but says the loud noise heard by Edendale residents was caused by steam escaping from the large broken pipes.

Repairs are already being carried out, with the company calling in engineers to help get the plant back up and running. However the company says its D4 dryer and milk protein concentrate plant may take some time to reinstate.

Mr Spurway says the damaged silos held less than 10 percent of the total raw milk storage capacity at the site.

About a hundred farmers across Otago and Southland were forced to dump milk over the weekend, because of delays to milk pick-ups. Fonterra says staff were in contact with affected farmers, and have been working closely with suppliers and council to ensure any milk disposal was managed appropriately.

However Mr Spurway says milk collections "are now back to normal as we continue to balance milk across the South Island, but we will communicate directly with farmers if there is any further impact to their collections".

Investigations into the cause of the collapse are underway.