In 2017, the Company signed an agreement with BUND for the reduction of one million cubic meters of saline wastewater at the Werra site, which has been approved for injection into deep layers of rock (plate dolomite) by the end of 2021, assuming the production can be maintained without restrictions. Now, the envisaged reduction could already be achieved in April 2020.
"We are consistently striving for a balance between potash production, jobs and the protection of the environment," says Dr. Burkhard Lohr, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of K+S AG. "Our agreement with BUND on the injection of saline wastewater into plate dolomite has clearly demonstrated our commitment. By achieving the common goal, we have proved to be a reliable contractual partner and fulfilled our obligation under the settlement agreement.
The reduction of injection volumes, however, was not to be obtained at zero cost, but required high investments. A central component for the success was in particular the commissioning of the KCF plant in 2018 enabling a further considerable amount of process wastewater to be reduced.
Moreover, consistent further efforts in saline wastewater management, such as the expansion of storage basins, the commissioning of a temporary underground interim storage facility as well as off-site recovery for the flooding of disused mines and gas caverns, also contributed to the success.
Underground storage is an important method of local waste management
When the current permit expires, the injection of saline wastewater will be finally discontinued by the end of 2021. In future, a local disposal method will be implemented instead, i.e. the flooding of disused mining areas in the Werra district. K+S is working intensively on creating the necessary conditions for this, so that from 2022 onwards, a significant part of the process wastewater can be stored underground in the Springen mine field (Wartburgkreis). This new permanent disposal option should not only compensate for the discontinuation of injection from the end of 2021 onwards. With the flooding of the Springen mine field, the long-term safe remediation of a contaminated mining site is also possible.
K+S considers itself a customer-focused, independent minerals company for the Agriculture, Industry, Consumers, and Communities segments. Our more than 14,000 employees enable farmers to provide nutrition for the world, solutions that keep industries going, improve daily life for consumers and provide safety in the winter. We continually meet the growing demand for mineral products from production sites in Europe, North and South America as well as a worldwide sales network. We strive for sustainability because we are deeply committed to our responsibilities to people, environment, communities and economy in the regions in which we operate. Learn more about K+S at www.kpluss.com.