WRR in Lagoon Wastewater (a great Maori example)

A few years ago we were visiting some high-performing lagoon wastewater facilities on north island in New Zealand, an early adapter of BioHaven floating islands to treat wastewater.  Their phosphorus reduction numbers are truly impressive!  We connected with the operator at the Kerepehi facility, and he related the following story.

“Elders from the local Maori village had watched with interest as our floating islands developed. We had BioHavens covering about a third of pond one, then another array in front of the outflow on pond two. Without our knowing, these alert Maori had been watching and maybe sensing the water quality improvement. And now, over the last year, they’ve been getting their young people to fish the last pond”. Already, they’ve harvested “hundreds of pounds of long fin eel,” he stated.

This led to a number of questions on our part.  “Did they introduce the eels?  Why? And what are they doing with them?”

His answers were revealing! The idea that native naturalists, essentially, were tracking the life model of the long fin and leveraging it, to the benefit of the environment, cannot be overstated.  “These people were growing long fins in wastewater, then harvesting them and planting them in other local waterways as prospective breeding stock. Their vision is remarkable!”, he stated.

Indigenous Wisdom

Whether it’s restoration of the Maine lobster, or recovery of the long fin eel in New Zealand, we must learn to value the depth of knowledge associated with indigenous wisdom. The long fin is under extinction pressure.  The vision of growing it, as a version of Water Resource Recovery, is elegant.  The further vision of using these individual long fins as breeding stock with which to resurrect populations in waterways currently devoid of eels, is even more elegant. In the meantime, harvest of these eels is an important pathway for phosphorus removal.

How can we support this kind of action?

You can find more information on our Lagoon Wastewater page.