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Foxconn putting $30 million into water-recycling system

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Foxconn Technology Group plans to put $30 million into a recycling system meant to significantly reduce the amount of water it has to draw from Lake Michigan for the manufacturing complex it’s building in southeast Wisconsin, the company said on Tuesday.

The Taiwanese company announced that the “zero liquid discharge” system will virtually eliminate the need to return waste water from manufacturing processes to the lake.

Foxconn said in an emailed statement that the recycling system is expected to reduce water intake by more than 3.5 million gallons a day. It said the system will eliminate the wastewater by distilling it. The water can then be recycled, recovered and reused.

Foxconn uses a similar system at its plant in Sakai, Japan.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources approved a request in April from the city of Racine to draw 7 million gallons of water a day from the lake to serve the $10 billion complex. The city’s application estimated plant operations and evaporation would use about 2.7 million gallons daily and the rest would be returned to the lake.
Midwest Environmental Advocates, an environmental-law center, filed a petition with the DNR in May arguing its approval violates the Great Lakes Compact, under which water transferred from the Great Lakes basin must be used for public purposes.

The department has granted a hearing of the challenge.

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