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Nov 30, 2011

Disposal of saline water – Werra Verbund plant: The new injection permit – an important step

The injection permit granted today by the government presidium of Kassel is an important step towards building a bridge for potash production on the Werra in future and implementing local measures of waste water reduction or assessing national disposal solutions and achieving these.


The authority has approved the further injection of saline waste water from the Werra plant of K+S KALI GmbH into the dolomite layer until 30 November 2015. At the same time, the total volume for this period was limited to 18.4 million cubic metres.


“The new permit takes into consideration the fact that injection will be needed as a bridge into the future. It is an important component in maintaining our production and the associated work and training places, and takes the increased requirements for environmental protection into account”, says Dr. Ralf Diekmann, senior management member of K+S KALI GmbH.


This applies in particular against the background of the implementation of the package of measures on water and groundwater protection, which began in October 2011. By the end of 2015, a further tangible contribution to improving the environment will have been achieved with investments of about € 360 million. The objective is to create the prerequisites for the long-term production of potash in the Hesse-Thuringia Werra district by halving the saline waste water and putting an end to the existing injection into the dolomite layer. Diekmann is convinced that this will make a responsible contribution to the sustainable use of raw materials in Hesse and Thuringia. In the light of this clear and binding objective, in applying for a new injection permit the company had expected that the intended bridging measure, covering the full duration and scope of the period until 2020, would be made possible. Regrettably, this has not yet happened.


For the coming four years, the permit also provides for decreasing maximum annual amounts for injection. According to Diekmann, these limits could, however, result in restrictions on operations in the event of persistent extreme dry weather, such as that which has been experienced in recent weeks in Hesse. The decision on continuing injection that has now been made would therefore also have to be compared in terms of its quantitative effects with the approval for discharge into the Werra that is awaiting re-approval at the end of 2012, if everything possible is to be done to prevent restrictions on production, Diekmann concludes.


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