Germany town fails in environmental lawsuit against K+S

27 March 2013 17:56  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--A German town and environmental groups once again failed in a legal bid to block fertilizer major K+S from injecting saline waste water discharges from its Werra potash operations in central Germany into deep layers of rock, the company said on Wednesday.

With the latest ruling by an adminstrative court on Wednesday, K+S will be able to maintain full production at Werra, it said.

The town of Gerstungen, near Eisenach in Thuringia state, and two pressure groups, argued in an appeals case that K+S’ discharges were jeopardising drinking water supplies.

However, the court ruled that there were no indications that drinking water supplies were jeopardised. Contrary arguments by the town's expert were an "unfounded hypothesis," it said. Lower courts had rejected previous attempts to halt the injections.

Kassel-based K+S, which employs some 5,000 workers at its potash sites in central Germany, said that the ruling on Werra - which cannot be further appealed - was good news for workers and the region.

Above all, the ruling meant that K+S will be able to maintain full production at Werra, said Ralf Diekmann, general manager of K+S unit Kali GmbH.

The court, which also emphasised the public interest in maintaining the potash jobs and in ensuring continued domestic potash supplies for farmers, clearly supported K+S’ position, Diekmann added.

Meanwhile, K+S continues to work on long-term solutions to dispose of saline waste waters from the mines, it said. One option is to build a pipeline to the North Sea to dispose of the wastes there.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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