Contaminated Location for Planned Gigafactory Poses No Threat, says Ministry

Stanislava Benešová, Novinky

The location of the potential gigafactory at Líně Airport near Pilsen is contaminated, but soil and water contamination should no longer threaten residents. The site has been undergoing remediation for some time, and the construction of a battery factory for electric cars would not pose a risk, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

A new document focusing on the development of the Pilsen region addresses environmental contamination in the area, including the airport. The document reveals that seven areas in the region, including Líně Airport, are classified as the most problematic concerning contamination, which has caused unacceptable risks to human health or poses a danger to the region.

According to the report, the contamination at Líně includes underground, surface water, and soil, and evidence shows the presence of petroleum products and hazardous metals. A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Environment said that urgent remedial measures are necessary for the most problematic category but did not specify the type of measures. The spokesperson said that the Ministry of Defense currently financed remediation and monitoring work focused on the area around the runway and aviation gasoline tanks.

The soil contamination is specifically located in the area of the original three fuel storage bunkers, according to Marek Vošahlík of the Ministry of Industry and Trade. “The remedial measure is the removal of contaminated soil and its ecological disposal,” he said.

The contamination was not a surprise for local officials near the military complex. “It was to be expected, as contamination has been discussed. But we don’t know the extent, where exactly, or how much,” said Dušan Duchek, head of the Zbůchu Independent Candidates for Zbůch. The mayor of Líně and Sulkova, Michal Gotthart, believes that the airport has become the focus of attention due to the planned gigafactory. The state promotes the investment of CZK 120 billion, which is considered crucial for the automotive industry.

The state has had 72 exploratory boreholes, and eight penetration tests carried out in the area for the giant battery factory for electric cars. The results are to be refined by the Ministry of the Environment. “The aim was to take samples of groundwater and rock for further analysis,” explained David Horinek, a spokesman for the CzechInvest agency, which has become the primary coordinator of the project.

Although the preliminary results suggest that the location is suitable for industrial construction, complete data is still unavailable. “There are only minor problems, such as contamination, which common procedures can solve. This means that implementing the project will contribute to eliminating pollution,” concluded Vošahlík.