Intel to build aeration system for ponds - East Valley Tribune: News

Intel to build aeration system for ponds

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Posted: Thursday, February 5, 2009 6:02 pm | Updated: 1:11 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Computer chip manufacturer Intel plans to begin construction this month on a $3 million system to combat a foul odor emanating from the company's Chandler evaporation ponds, of which neighbors have complained since 2005.

VIDEO: Stinky ponds in Chandler

Computer chip manufacturer Intel plans to begin construction this month on a $3 million system to combat a foul odor emanating from the company's Chandler evaporation ponds, of which neighbors have complained since 2005.

"It's a significant amount of money," said Jeanne Forbis, an Intel spokeswoman.

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Intel maintains several "brine pools" east of Gilbert Road, between Ocotillo and Chandler Heights roads. The water basically is concentrated tap water left over from the reverse osmosis process the company uses to purify water for use in computer chip manufacturing, Forbis said.

The excess water is left in the open-air pools to evaporate. But the pools, which are low in oxygen and high in organic material, create an attractive environment for bacteria. The bacteria creates a sulfurous, rotten-egg smell that has become a problem for residents of the 243-home Fonte Al Sole' subdivision just to the north.

Odors from Intel ponds stink up area

Jim Phipps, Chandler capital projects spokesman, said the evaporation pools predate the residential subdivision. City officials have said the earliest odor complaints came in fall 2005.

"In the past there were no houses around there but development has encroached," he said.

The city owns the land on which the ponds sit, but the facility is operated by Intel, and Intel will be paying to install the anti-odor system, Phipps said.

Forbis said temporary measures to abate the smell began last August, when Intel added caustic soda to the ponds. A removable system of blowers, powered by generators, was installed in the fall and continues to operate. The blowers aerate the water, preventing the formation of malodorous compounds.

Construction of a permanent system of blowers is slated to begin this month and take about three months to complete. The blowers will be placed in a building Forbis described as "sound attenuated and unobtrusive," on the southeast corner of the property, away from Fonte Al Sole'.

When the weather gets hot again, Intel and neighbors, who have been working together with city officials for months on the anti-odor system, will know the extent of its effectiveness.

"That's the big test, what will happen in the heat of the summer," Forbis said.

Bill Berryman, a Fonte Al Sole' resident who has been working on the problem, credited Intel with being responsive and not adversarial.

"We got all the support you could ever ask for," Berryman said. "Working together as a team, we were able to accomplish this."

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