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Intel unfolds water conservation plan ahead of groundbreaking

Water from Columbus will flow to Intel and back as part of a water conservation plan.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Intel will be Columbus' largest consumer of water and will use an estimated five million gallons per day.

But, the semiconductor giant is also embarking on a plan to send back to the city nearly as much water as it uses.

"Right now, about 80% to 90% of the water that we take in from the water source will be used and returned back to the city. To make up for that balance, of that 10% to 20% we partner with nonprofits organizations.  We fund their projects to restore that water back into the greater community," said Linda Quian, Intel global affairs and sustainability spokesperson.

So what happens to the water the city gets in return?

The City of Columbus' Public Utilities Department told 10TV in an email, "Once they [Intel] draw drinking water from our distribution system and use it for whatever purpose they intend, the water will then undergo initial treatment on-site (more on this below) before going into a sanitary sewer for treatment at one of the department’s two wastewater treatment facilities, Jackson Pike and Southerly.

"This holds true for everyone from residential users to commercial/industrial; there is no instance where 'used' water goes back into the drinking water distribution system or is allowed to flow untreated into a river, stream, or elsewhere."

You can see the water journey here:

Credit: Intel

Before a single drop of city water hits one of Intel's wafers, it is sent through Intel's own water filtration system. What comes out is something the company calls "pure water."

"That water that is so clean it is completely free of any particles or ions or different types of trace minerals, you know? Things that are important for us when we are drinking water, but those are things that you can't have when we are using the water to clean wafers because they would damage the product," said Quian.

You can read Intel's water policy here.

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