28 November 2011
Saline water pipeline from Neuhof to Philippsthal
Pipeline to provide relief for people and environment
The hearing beginning on 28 November 2011 marks the commencement of the next phase in the process for establishing a plan for the construction and operation of a saline water pipeline from Neuhof to Philippsthal. After the large-scale release of the planning documents for public inspection, the authority responsible for the procedure, the government presidium of Kassel, will now discuss any objections and opinions with the persons who have raised objections, the participating authorities and the company. The official decision regarding the applied-for construction and operation of a pipelines and the discharge of saline water into the Werra will thus be prepared on the basis of the Administrative Procedure Act.
After the comprehensive examination by experts of all technically meaningful alternative means of disposal, K+S applied for the construction of a pipeline from Neuhof to Philippsthal in order to, in a manner that maximally protects the environment, dispose in particular of the saline waste water arising from the tailing pile and flowing into the Werra. The specialist reports had demonstrated that the alternatives to the pipeline either did not represent a long-term solution, were not technically feasible or were associated with serious ecological disadvantage. This applies in particular to the road transport required for the temporary solution, which was to end as quickly as possible due to the construction of the pipeline, but also applies to the different concepts for the evaporation of saline waste water.
Further improvements in water quality
For more than ten years, great efforts have been made to achieve further biolog-ical improvements in the Werra / Weser water system. Compared to 2006, prior to the start of transports of saline water from Neuhof to the Werra, the annual total volume of saline waste water has been reduced by more than two million cubic metres as a result of the adoption of technical measures. The officially approved thresholds will continue to be applied with consistently and offer good prerequisites for a further recovery of the river.
K+S is taking a great step forward with the package of measures on water pro-tection that is now beginning. By the end of 2015, a further tangible contribution to improving of the environment will have been achieved with investments of about € 360 million. The objective is to create the prerequisites for the long-term and sustainable production of potash in the Hesse-Thuringia Werra district by halving of the saline waste water and putting an end to the existing injection into the dolomite layer.
Overall strategy for sustainable potash production
As part of the long-term overall strategy, the company is furthermore preparing the planning documents for local and national means of disposal and will submit the corresponding applications next year. They comprise not only the concept of the local disposal of liquid production residue within the framework of the New Integrated Saline Waste Water Management System (NIS), but also, as alternatives, applications for non-local means of disposal by means of pipelines to the North Sea and in the area of the Oberweser. K+S is thus exploring all existing options in order to fulfil its responsibility for a fair balance between economic requirements, ecological objectives and social obligations. The proper disposal of the saline waste water from Neuhof via the environmental management of the Werra plant forms an integral part of this overall strategy.
The K+S Group is one of the world's leading suppliers of standard and speciality fertilizers. In the salt business, K+S is the world’s leading producer with sites in Europe as well as North and South America. K+S offers a comprehensive range of goods and services for agriculture, industry, and private consumers which ensures growth in virtually every sphere of daily life. The K+S Group employs more than 14,000 people.
Within the K+S Group, K+S KALI GmbH is responsible for the potash and mag-nesium products sphere of operation. In six mines in Germany, the company mines salts containing potash, magnesium and sulphur and produced a wide range of high-quality products from them for the agricultural, industrial, healthcare and food sectors. Of the 7.900 people employed by the company, some 5,000 are based at the production sites in Hesse and Thuringia.