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Tesla factory in Grünheide: Probably too much phosphorus and total nitrogen in the wastewater

Photo: Patrick Pleul / dpa

The Tesla Gigafactory in Grünheide is partly located in a drinking water protection area - and with the planned expansion, many residents of the plant fear for the water.

It's about groundwater levels, but also about the risk of contamination.

Now a report from “Stern” and RTL suggests that the existing Tesla factory has already clearly violated the permissible limit values ​​for water-polluting substances.

Measured values ​​are said to show that Tesla has been constantly and significantly releasing too much phosphorus and total nitrogen into the wastewater system for around two years - by up to six times, as the report states, citing information from the Straußberg-Erkner water association (WSE).

The media has received a corresponding letter from the association.

The WSE has therefore invited its members to an extraordinary meeting on Friday.

In the letter to the mayors of the region, the water association urges Tesla to close the sewer line until further notice.

This could mean a production stop for the factory.

Berlin's drinking water in danger?

According to »Stern« and RTL, Tesla did not dispute the increased readings.

A spokeswoman wrote that the factory has a wastewater treatment plant.

Essentially, the company still discharges wastewater from sanitary facilities and kitchens into the municipal network.

This has “no negative impact” on the sewage treatment plant.

The company has so far left a SPIEGEL query about the allegations unanswered.

The Berliner Wasserbetriebe told “Stern” and RTL that the increased phosphorus and nitrogen values ​​had “no influence on Berlin’s drinking water quality.”

According to the report, water scientist Martin Pusch from the Leibniz Institute for Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) in Berlin warned that the high concentration of the substances in the wastewater could endanger Berlin's drinking water supply.

Part of the water purified in the sewage treatment plant flows into the Müggelsee in summer.

One of Berlin's largest waterworks draws its water from the lake's bank filtrate.

The protest against Tesla had recently increased significantly.

In a recent citizen survey, almost two thirds of the residents of Grünheide spoke out against the expansion of the Tesla factory.

In addition to concerns about groundwater, many people are concerned about delivery traffic.

So far, the cars produced have been transported away by truck.