Foxconn announces zero-discharge system, will slash water usage

Foxconn announces zero-discharge system, will slash water usage

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MOUNT PLEASANT – Zero liquid industrial discharge and a slashed water intake — that’s what Foxconn Technology Group has announced for the future Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park.

In a news release Tuesday morning, Foxconn announced it will voluntarily adopt a leading-edge water recycling system at its future manufacturing and research campus here. The zero liquid discharge (ZLD) system will allow the Taiwanese company to dramatically reduce the campus’ water intake requirements from Lake Michigan and virtually eliminate the return of any manufacturing process wastewater to the lake.

In using this technology, Foxconn expects to reduce its intake of water at the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park by more than 3.5 million gallons per day, down to 2.5 million gallons per day. The ZLD system will eliminate manufacturing process wastewater by distilling it, thus allowing the company to recycle, recover and reuse the water.

The water treatment system will be in place when the thin-film-transistor fabrication facility is completed and fully operational. Because of the technology, Foxconn said the only water that will not be recycled will be the domestic wastewater that is normally discharged from any commercial facility and the water evaporating from the cooling systems.

Foxconn has begun construction of a $10 billion, 22-million-square-foot manufacturing campus in the southwest Mount Pleasant. It is expected to employ 13,000 people at its peak.

“One of the reasons we chose to locate in Wisconsin is the state’s pristine environment, and we take our responsibility to preserve it seriously,” stated Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn founder and CEO Terry Gou. “This system will be state-of-the-art technology to reduce the water our facility needs to operate by millions of gallons per day. We not only seek to comply with all regulations where we do business, we also work to exceed them when possible.”

Kudos

“We applaud Foxconn for its progressive plan to aggressively recycle water used for manufacturing within their facilities and help minimize the amount of water drawn from Lake Michigan,” stated Dean Amhaus, president and CEO of The Water Council. “By eliminating wastewater discharges from their manufacturing processes, Foxconn will demonstrate their commitment to water stewardship. This commitment is fitting for Wisconsin, the home of the North American office for the Alliance for Water Stewardship, the first and only global standard that promotes best practices in water stewardship.”

The ZLD water treatment system has been adopted at Foxconn’s manufacturing facility in Sakai, Japan, where it has been proved to efficiently reuse water, reduce pollutant discharges and reduce its intake from surrounding waterways. The facility is so successful in its water recycling processes that it has been officially named “Green Front Sakai” by the Osaka city government. Few manufacturing facilities in the United States have adopted ZLD systems, and Foxconn said this manufacturing facility will be a showcase for environmental sustainability not only in Wisconsin, but also elsewhere in the country.

"Foxconn continues to be a perfect fit for Wisconsin's commitment to advanced manufacturing and environmental sustainability. Their investment in state-of-the-art water technology proves that manufacturing job growth and a clean environment can go hand in hand,” stated Dan Ellsworth, president of the Wisconsin Water Alliance, a nonpartisan, statewide organization whose mission is to help protect the state’s water resources.

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