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New microchip facility in Onondaga County to use 20 million gallons of water per day

  • 11 October 2022
  • ckearns

Conor Wight - Wednesday

When Micron’s chip plant is up and running, officials say it will need about 20 million gallons of water per day to operate.

To put it in perspective; each day the City of Syracuse – all the homes and businesses combined – uses about 40 million gallons of water.

The water starts on a journey about 25 miles away from the city.

Deep below the surface of Lake Ontario, a massive intake pipe sucks in water.

The water is brought in through pumps and sent on its way to about 175,000 people.

That system is part of what convinced Micron CEO Sanjay Mehrotra to build the manufacturing plant in the Town of Clay.

Micron will need 20 million gallons of water per day to cool down and clean equipment.

“It is a massive component of how chips are made,” said Onondaga County Water Authority (OCWA) Executive Director Jeff Brown.

He says his agency has been in talks with Micron for months in preparation for a major uptick in their production.

“We’re talking about more than half of what we currently produce is going to be required by this plant,” said Brown.

But Brown says they already have the capacity to get it done.

The pumps are each capable of producing 26 million gallons a day, meaning they have more than enough wiggle room.

“There is going to be future growth, we have the capacity as well,” said Brown.

OCWA is only providing about half of the water Micron will need.

The water coming in from Lake Ontario will go through the plant and will wind up in a county sewage facility.

Then, the water will be treated and sent back to Micron.

The county has approved $200 million to expand a sewage facility in Clay to handle the water when it is no longer usable.

As for OCWA’s contribution, they anticipate adding a few additional pumps and lines, but beyond that, they feel prepared.

“When I heard the news, I was just ecstatic, ecstatic for the community, ecstatic for us here at OCWA,” said Brown. “It’s a good opportunity for our employees to show what we can do to provide high-quality water to that site.”

Brown says they still haven't pinned down how much Micron will pay for the water, but for everyone else that uses water they bring from lake Ontario, he says there will be no disruption to service.

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