A sophisticated idea succeeds
Within 25 years, this gray and white tailings pile has become a green mountain. It is now a landmark of the town of Sehnde and the population regularly celebrates festivals here. Nature has reclaimed the former potash tailings pile. Where salty rock used to be visible, foxes and hares now say good night to each other. Deer hop happily through the area, while birds and bees enjoy the diversity of plants. That's just the way it has to be, and that's exactly how it was planned - an ecologically sensible cover for a potash tailings pile.
Potash crude salt was mined at the Friedrichshall potash plant in Sehnde from 1905 to 1982. The non-recyclable portion of residual salt was stored in a tailings pile above ground. In this way, a tailings pile with 19 million tonnes of residue material was created over a period of more than 70 years on a surface area of 28,4000 m². Following the closure of the production plant, it was decided to cover the tailings pile with suitable building materials to prevent salt from entering the soil in the future, e.g., via rainwater runoff, and to improve integration into the landscape.
Since 2022, the tailings pile has been green
The video shows the impressive change from then to now and what effort was required to achieve the great goal of a greened tailings pile.
K+S Baustoffrecycling exists since 1994
K+S Baustoffrecycling specializes in the recycling of non-hazardous soil and construction waste. In the more than 25 years of business activity, 11.5 million tonnes of soil and 2.5 million tonnes of construction waste have been accepted for the recultivation of the Friedrichshall potash tailings pile in Sehnde, processed and recycled for covering and greening.
Part of the application to cover the tailings pile at that time was a "generally understandable summary", which can also be understood by people who are not experts. There, the individual steps from planning to execution are described in great detail. The document provides a better understanding of the project as a whole. After all, everything that is important for people and nature has been taken into account here.
The milestones of the Friedrichshall tailings pile from 1905 to today
An exciting story! Find out what began with the first attempts and what role the Mittelland Canal played in the process in the chronicle.
The Friedrichshall tailings pile in figures before covering
Mass (million tonnes) approx. 19
Max. height above ground (m) 76
Max. height above sea level (m) 142
Total area (ha) 28.4
The Friedrichshall tailings pile in figures after covering
Mass (million tonnes) approx. 33
Max. height above ground (m) 90
Max. height above sea level (m) 156
Total area (ha) approx. 42
That's how it works
Greening a potash tailings pile is a challenging task. It not only requires a great deal of specialist knowledge, test series, expert opinions, approval phases, but above all time and the right material.
Carefully examined soils and construction waste are deposited on the tailings pile in several layers according to a very precisely defined procedure. This creates a cover, the top layer of which is permanently planted with vegetation.
Each step of this multi-layer construction process is closely monitored by the relevant authorities. The material is also specified as part of the permit and of course complies with Germany's strict environmental laws.