Tesla and the water

A gigafactory in a drinking water protection area

Two thirds of the Tesla factory in Grünheide is located in the Erkner-Neu Zittau drinking water protection area, with water protection zones III A and III B. But what exactly does that mean? Most of our drinking water comes from groundwater. Because it is only possible to remove impurities from the groundwater with enormous technical effort, water protection areas are intended to protect the water quality in the catchment areas of water extraction plants for present and future generations. For example, intensive agricultural use that is associated with high nitrate concentrations in the groundwater, is not permitted.

Zone III is the outer zone of the catchment area, where it must be ensured that no chemical or radioactive contamination takes place (1). The following are also prohibited

  • Dumping of rubble, waste materials, water-polluting substances
  • Application of liquid manure, sewage sludge, pesticides and pest control agents
  • intensive livestock farming
  • wastewater treatment plants
  • Sand and gravel pits (2)

Nevertheless, a gigafactory has been approved, which will one day produce up to 2 million cars per year according to Tesla’s plans!

Tesla endangers our drinking water

And already the initial phase shows that our drinking water is not safe! Since the Tesla factory was commissioned at the end of 2021, a total of 26 environmental incidents have been reported up to September 2023! These include the leakage of:

  • 15,000 liters of immersion bath in the paint shop
  • 13 tons of liquid aluminum
  • 50 and 150 liters of diesel
  • 300 liters of extinguishing water after a fire
  • 250 liters of diesel in an illegally constructed gas station

In addition, a total of eight fires were reported in March 2022, including at an illegal landfill site on the premises where a shredded battery caught fire (3).

Although the Brandenburg State Office for the Environment (LfU) was aware of the incidents, the responsible water board WSE was not even informed. The responsible authorities are apparently certain that our drinking water is not at risk. But who actually checks this?

Tesla checks the quality of the groundwater itself

The Strausberg-Erkner water board (WSE), which includes the extraction points in Grünheide, supplies around 170,000 inhabitants with water. Berlin also draws water from the area. Actually, the WSE is responsible for carrying out quality tests on the groundwater. But in the case of Tesla, everything is different once again. Instead of the WSE or an independent authority carrying out the tests, Tesla itself is allowed to commission a company to monitor the two dozen or so groundwater measuring points on the Tesla site. The reports are neither publicly accessible nor are they known to the WSE itself (4).

We demand independent monitoring of the impact on soil and water!

No risky industry in the water protection area!


(1)  https://www.hlnug.de/themen/wasser/wasserschutzgebiete

(2) https://www.w-s-e.de/#c166-3

(3) https://www.tagesspiegel.de/berlin/lack-aluminium-diesel-und-loschwasser-im-boden-tesla-hat-in-grunheide-bisher-26-umwelt-havarien-gemeldet-10540618.html

(4) https://www.stern.de/wirtschaft/tesla–die-aussagen-von-dietmar-woidke-zur-stern-recherche-im-faktencheck-33882072.html