Coal company admits lowering lake water levels, but denies polluting Berlin’s main river
Mining company Leag has admitted that its lignite mining activities in the east German region of Lusatia contribute to lower water gauges in the region’s lakes, Thorsten Gellner writes in the Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung. “The environment ministry [of federal state Brandenburg] admitted a connection for the first time last year and now, surprisingly, Leag has followed suit,” Gellner says. Environmentalist René Schuster says Leag’s water withdrawal for coal mining has become “so severe they could no longer deny it.” However, Leag denies any responsibility for high levels of sulphate in the river Spree, which also flows through Germany’s capital Berlin, Gellner writes. Since Berlin draws part of its drinking water supply from the Spree, the city fears the flooding of a former open-pit mine will add to the costly problem of purifying the river’s water. Leag says these concerns are “unfounded” as flooding and other activities do not contribute to higher sulphate levels in the river.
See the CLEW factsheet Coal in Germany for more information.