In mid-January, the Wasserverband Strausberg-Erkner (WSE) - a water association - announced that drinking water supply and wastewater disposal for Tesla were not currently guaranteed. This statement misled many people. But, as it turned out, all issues related to water supply are resolvable.
According to RBB, a discussion took place between the WSE, the Berlin water companies, the State Environmental Agency and the business development agency about the Tesla factory. The WSE talked about technical and administrative issues and even a threat to Tesla’s public drinking water supply. But, according to experts, water supply and sanitation is technically feasible for the Gigafactory in Grünheide.
As a result of negotiations, according to RBB, it was found that groundwater was sufficient for the Gigafactory phase 1, which is expected to be completed in July 2021, and will support local production of Model Y cars in Europe.
According to Tesla’s initial data, the plant needed about 371 cubic meters of water per hour, but after negotiations, the company was able to reduce this amount of water to 238 cubic meters. This indicates that the company is open for a reasonable dialogue and is ready to compromise in order for the plant to be built taking into account the interests of all interested parties.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, made a clarifying statement on his Twitter account. The documentation indicates the maximum number and such an amount of water may be needed only occasionally and only during peak loads. The rest of the time, for daily needs, less water will be used.
Sounds like we need to clear up a few things! Tesla won’t use this much net water on a daily basis. It’s possibly a rare peak usage case, but not an everyday event. Also, this is not a natural forest — it was planted for use as cardboard & only a small part will be used for GF4.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 25, 2020
The problem with groundwater in the region arose due to the activities of the WSE. Enough groundwater was available before, but two waterworks, WSE-Wasserwerke Erkner and Petershafen / Eggersdorf were not modernized in order to increase groundwater production.
According to another RBB report, Mayor Grünheide Arne Cristiani previously stated that it was a “return wagon.” In 2017 and 2018, the association had to pay fines for over-extraction of groundwater. However, instead, in the service area, citizens were forbidden to water the garden for several months in the hot summer.
At a meeting, wastewater removal for the first phase of Gigafactory was discussed and regulated in conversation. A 9-miles line from the Tesla plant to the Münchehofe wastewater treatment plant should be built for the first stage of expansion. The plant operated by Berliner Wasserbetriebe will have to be expanded.
Also, instead of a private well on the Tesla site, water can be obtained from an underground reservoir south of Frankfurt an der Oder; for this, however, it is necessary to build a line with a length of 37 miles.
In turn “a new wastewater treatment plant can be built near the plant” - an investment in the millions that the WSE should make, RBB reports. This construction should to begin in the near future.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.