The Community Environmental Working Group, which began in August, 2004, is a volunteer organization that meets monthly to pursue its mission of continuous environmental improvement and improved community dialogue on environmental issues related to Intel New Mexico. The Group explores and discusses concerns and ideas from all relevant interest groups, including Intel and the surrounding community.
Many of the changes listed below are beyond what can be accomplished by regulatory agencies under current law. Actual accomplishments always fall short of what might be desired, yet they still add to useful progress. Although CEWG discussions were an impetus for these improvements, the Group cannot take full credit. They are attributable as well to various members of the public, public agencies, and Intel management and engineers.
2004 – 2006
- 1. Intel formed a team that made changes that reduced the amount of isopropyl alcohol emitted.
- 2. Intel compressed the preventative maintenance schedule for the oxidizers, cutting unabated downtime emissions 70%.
- 3. Intel changed the preventative maintenance schedule to avoid downtimes during the months when air dispersion is restricted, thereby reducing the impact of unabated emissions on surrounding communities.
- 4. Coordination between Intel and emergency responders improved, and the emergency response program was tested in full-scale drills and real events.
- 5. Intel donated $10,000 to Corrales for additional fire department training.
- 6. Intel established an Odor Team to investigate reported odors, which led to improvements in cooling tower sampling and filtration to monitor bacteria and pH. By improved monitoring, Biocide use in the north cooling towers was reduced 70-80 % with the potential of reducing odors.
- 7. Intel created a quadrant map to better identify the location of reported odors.
- 8. Intel improved the methanol abatement process and reduced emissions from 40% to 4%.
- 9. Intel moved the shipping and storage containers away from the weather tower so as not to interfere with weather data.
2006 – 2007
10. The CEWG developed a Citizen Protocol to establish trustworthy ways to contract, analyze, and report testing data.
2007 – 2008
11. Sandoval County purchased an automated system for public emergency notification meeting national standards. The CEWG publicized it.
12. Intel increased RTO stack height from 23.2 meters to 30 meters from the ground.
13. Intel automated its biocide use.
2008 - 2009
14. Intel removed rain caps from boiler stacks, increasing exit velocity and effective height of stack flow, reducing resultant particulate concentrations on the ground by 37% and carbon monoxide by 69% on an 8-hour average.
15. Intel reduced usage of HMDS, a chemical that produces silica when burned in the thermal oxidizers by a factor of 3 since 2005 and a factor of 8 since 1994.
16. Intel increased the pH in the scrubbers to eliminate odor stemming from 1-heptanethiol.
17. Intel replaced old Durr oxidizers with four new Munters units for better reliability and less downtime. These are arranged so that they are not clustered, which further reduces ground-level concentrations.
18. Intel installed redundant oxidizer units that significantly reduced downtime.
19. Intel increased the RTO stack height from 30 meters to 40 to reduce the maximum ground-level concentrations of pollutants.
20. Intel and the CEWG conducted a test (over four days and four nights) for crystalline silica emissions, coordinated by a community-based Silica Testing Task Force (STTF), observed by community representatives, and analyzed by NIOSH (the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health). Report indicated no significant levels of crystalline silica in emissions during the four test dates.
21. Intel created a website at ExploreIntel.com to report real-time data to the public.
2012-2013 (Projects still in progress)
22. Hydrogen Fluoride spikes modeling study.
23. Code Red research study.
24. Continued communication with ATSDR urging completion of its report.