The leak of a pollutant at Tesla Giga Berlin in April never posed a great danger, and there was no risk of it entering the groundwater, Brandenburg's Ministry of Environment said. The incident is classified as an operational failure that occurs periodically in factories around the world.
Brandenburg Environment Minister Axel Vogel has ruled out a serious environmental hazard following a recent pollutant leak at the Tesla Giga Berlin plant. “There was never any risk of it entering the groundwater or sewer system,” Vogel said on Thursday in the state parliament’s environmental committee in Potsdam. “Only small quantities entered the street intake channel, which could be completely eliminated,” he continued.
In his conclusions, Vogel relied on information that came to the ministry from the Oder-Spree district. He made an unequivocal statement that there was no accident. “In this regard, I can rule out [...] that there was a serious danger to people, and in particular I can rule out the possibility of adverse health effects on a large number of people,” he said.
According to authorities, 15,000 liters of paint mixture leaked out at the Giga Berlin paint shop in April. Tesla immediately informed the authorities in charge and tthe fluids were pumped out by a recycling company. The next day, during loading, two to three liters of the mixture spilled onto the access road, but obviously, did not carry the danger of groundwater contamination. The State Environmental Protection Agency classifies this as an operational failure and is not related to the accident.
After the operational failure became known, the Green League of Brandenburg, which is an ardent opponent of Giga Berlin, demanded that the permission to operate the factory be banned. The organization substantiated it by alleging that pollutants would get into groundwater. The Environment Ministry's clarifications should refute the Green League's accusations.
The Environment Ministry stressed that Tesla is allowed to produce cars despite not all conditions being met at this moment. “All security-related requirements […] were properly implemented,” said Susanne Wolff, approval contact. Whether Tesla meets all the requirements will become clear only later. Some requirements can only be verified during normal operation, the ministry explained. The first revision—a kind of acceptance test—begins on May 9.
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