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Shoeleather Journalism in the Digital Age

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Report: Intel Ocotillo Campus notches honor for water stewardship

Intel is first U.S. semiconductor company to be AWS certified, officials say
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

Intel’s Ocotillo Campus in Arizona, officials there say, has earned platinum level certification from the Alliance for Water Stewardship.

Intel is the first semiconductor company in the United States to be AWS Certified and the second company in the country to earn the platinum certification, the highest level under this program, according to a press release.

AWS is the only certification standard that focuses exclusively on water stewardship.

“Water is one of the most important ingredients in the semiconductor manufacturing process and a critical natural resource for the communities where we operate,” said Keyvan Esfarjani, executive vice president, chief global operations officer and general manager of manufacturing, supply chain and operations at Intel.

“That’s why Intel has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in innovative water conservation efforts, resulting in more than 3.3 billion gallons of water conserved in our Ocotillo operations in 2022. We are proud to have achieved one of the highest scored ever for AWS’ Platinum Level Certification across all regions and all industry sectors.”

Of Note: Intel has been manufacturing in Arizona for more than 40 years, and minimizing its environmental footprint is a longstanding priority.

At the Ocotillo campus, Intel’s 12-acre on-site water reclamation facility can treat up to 9.1 million gallons of water each day — this includes the ability to remove total dissolved solids, which is especially important in Arizona due to the salt concentration levels in the water. The facility enables Intel to reuse water within its on-site systems.

An aerial view of the on-site water reclamation facility’s salt recovery building. Removing total dissolved solids is especially important in Arizona due to the salt concentration levels in the water. The site at Intel Corporation’s Ocotillo campus in Chandler, Arizona, was photographed in June 2023. (Photo Credit: Intel/
Intel is first U.S. semiconductor company to be AWS certified, officials say

The campus is also home to the Ocotillo Brine Reduction Facility, a longstanding, innovative public-private partnership with the city of Chandler. This facility has the daily capacity to treat up to 2.8 million gallons of water that have been used in our manufacturing processes. This industrial water is reused by Intel, reducing the need for additional freshwater withdrawals from the city.

In addition to Intel’s on-site water conservation, the company has funded 21 nonprofit-led water restoration projects to support Arizona’s watersheds that, once fully implemented, will restore almost 2.2 billion gallons of water annually, Intel representatives report.

Ten of these projects benefit the Colorado River watershed specifically, restoring 1.3 billion gallons of water in 2022 by focusing on river flow enhancement and restoration. Further, in partnership with the National Forest Foundation, phase three of the lower Salt River Restoration project is focused on replacing invasive plants Arundo and Tamarix with native species and revegetating an area burned in a 2017 wildfire.

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