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Fertilizer Dump Spoils Intel's Pure Water

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the what-if-they-were-making-whiskey dept.

Intel 211

An anonymous reader writes "Intel had to shut down part of its Irish plant for a while because of the extreme cold and the fact the local council polluted the water supply with fertilizer. Apparently it got down to -12 degrees C at the Intel plant in Leixlip, County Kildare. But to make matters worse, the local council ran out of rock salt to grit the roads and opted for fertilizer instead. There were fears that ammonia and nitrates in the fertilizer might have contaminated the local water supply. The problem for the chipmaker is that it needs extremely pure water for its manufacturing processes."

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211 comments

But... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30960864)

It's got what plants crave!

why tagged gatorade instead of brawndo? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30960868)

Brawndo's got what plants crave. They crave Brawndo. It's got electrolytes.

Re:why tagged gatorade instead of brawndo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30961422)

brawndo's got what CPUs crave!

(when to ACs discuss in space, nobody can hear them)

Priorities, people (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30960900)

I daresay people also need 'extremely pure' water to... you know... drink and suchlike. Right?

Re:Priorities, people (4, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30960956)

'extremely pure' water to... you know... drink

You've never been to Ireland, have you? 96% water [wikipedia.org] is more than enough.

Re:Priorities, people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30961064)

Pahhh... Guinness... If you want real stout try Murphy's [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Priorities, people (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961396)

I guess it all depends on what that other four percent is. I mean, imagine if someone were to dispose of old thermometers by draining the remaining mercury near a local water supply. And you know they say that we need to drink eight glasses of water per day to stay healthy.

Re:Priorities, people (0)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961562)

No... no we don't. Taking out everything in water will actually kill us because the minerals and some bacteria are needed. We have symbiotic relationships with a lot of bacteria.

Re:Priorities, people (5, Informative)

Silvrmane (773720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961620)

100% pure water will do no harm to you, whatsoever. Or your gut bacteria. I'm not sure how this meme got started, but it is not only wrong, but indicative of a confusion of ideas that makes me doubt the rationality of anyone who espouses it.

Re:Priorities, people (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30961826)

Uh, wrong.

Heard of Hold Your Wee for a Wii [wikipedia.org] , perhaps? Matt Carringon [wikipedia.org] ? Water intoxication [wikipedia.org] ?

The body needs certain electrolytes to be in a certain balance to function. Drinking 100% pure water in sufficient quantities, without consuming anything else, will cause that balance to be disrupted, and death will result.

In the sort of doses that you'd typically drink, sure, 100% pure water is fine. But drunk to excess, it's lethal (as is regular drinking water, to be fair.) Like anything, really. Oxygen? Yup. You name it, it's lethal if you consume too much. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Priorities, people (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30961862)

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_absurdum [wikipedia.org]

Reductio ad absurdum (Latin: "reduction to the absurd") is a form of argument in which a proposition is disproven by following its implications to a logical but absurd consequence.

Re:Priorities, people (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30962142)

Drinking truly 100% water I.e. deionized water is semi toxic. Water is a natural solvent and having no solute in it means it will reach for anything surrounding it and try to pull it into it's matrix. It screws your cell's osmotic pressure and really fucks over your electrolyte balance. A few glasses It may not kill you but it is harmful, and drinking to much can cause your mussels to cramp up and spasm (including your cardiac mussels).

Re:Priorities, people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30961682)

So how do you know that the bacteria in the water is the good kind or not? Fertiliser also has lots of bacteria in it...

Water Filters? Hello? (2, Insightful)

mim (535591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30960914)

One would think that a company with their resources would have a filtration system in place if the need for pure water is such a priority that the lack of it risks shutting down the whole operation.

Re:Water Filters? Hello? (4, Insightful)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 4 years ago | (#30960938)

I was in this very plant a year or two ago and seem to recall them saying that not even filtering was good enough, they actually had to distill the water they got because filtering won't remove all impurities (enough for most practical purposes, but I think the reason they need absolutely pure is because pure H2O doesn't conduct electricity, but the slightest impurity will).

I find it very hard to believe this same plant shut down because they didn't consider the possibility of their water supply (completely outdoors and unguarded) being contaminated somehow.

Re:Water Filters? Hello? (4, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30960978)

Somebody did not consider the long-term consequences of their acts. Apparently, whether that was on the Intel or County Kildare side is currently unknown.

But if they have to distill their water anyway, I don't see the problem. Unless the salts mess up their still.

Re:Water Filters? Hello? (4, Informative)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961102)

Distillation only removes sediments (mostly). You don't get rid of evaporating chemicals that easy, you'd actually have to use refining distillation combined with reverse osmosis filtering to get clean water. And that gets slow and expensive fast.

Re:Water Filters? Hello? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30961838)

Can't you just use fractioning distillation taking the product at 100C and throwing away anything else as pollutant, or does that not scale well either?

Re:Water Filters? Hello? (1)

kqc7011 (525426) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961240)

There is something just not right with this story. If the water became contaminated from the deicer put on the roads, the salt normally used should have done the same to the plants water. Not to mention run off from the fields that would have been fertilized. When a company is using (pure) water for use, they should be able to produce or have delivered enough. Making pure water is not the same as producing potable water. It is a much more exacting process. Again, we need more and better information from the writer of the article.

Re:Water Filters? Hello? (4, Informative)

Sique (173459) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961264)

No, salt can be easily removed from water by distilling. But some organic matter has a boiling point at around the same temperature than water and thus is not removed by a simple distilling process.

Re:Water Filters? Hello? (1, Funny)

umghhh (965931) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961672)

I think Intel simply wants to off shore its plant to pristine waters of Yangtze river.

Re:Water Filters? Hello? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962042)

I imagine the problem is ammonia. It vaporizes well and would get past a distillation process.

Re:Water Filters? Hello? (2, Informative)

sjwest (948274) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961126)

A book (isbn: 9781846270697) about waste water will tell you that Irelands sewage and water distribution systems are sub par, a couple of years ago the Irish in some areas where having to boil there water to remove bugs.

Ireland might be a tax free paradise for american corps, but investment in the basics like water treatment leaves much to be desired.

No surprises here that it got shutdown.

Re:Water Filters? Hello? (2, Interesting)

Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961196)

but investment in the basics like water treatment leaves much to be desired.

Water treatment is fine, the problem is in the 1940s supply infrastructure, debates in the Dáil have gone on record as saying that 45%+ of the water that is processed leaks from pipes en route to the taps. This is the legacy of the incompetents in charge of the country at the moment, who would rather bow to public sector union demands for pay rises than fix this infrastructure. Not to worry though, the Greens in the ruling coalition are going to inflict a new water rates tax on us to ensure that the unions get their pay rises.

Re:Water Filters? Hello? (0, Troll)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961200)

Places with "low taxes" either:

  1. Have a higher, hidden tax burden (like southern US states with their high, regressive sales taxes)
  2. Have materially lower living standards (like Ireland)

You can't get a modern civilization for pennies on the dollar.

Re:Water Filters? Hello? (2, Informative)

linuxrocks123 (905424) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961248)

Regarding southern U.S. states, the ones I've lived in actually have a fairly moderate sales tax. Illinois and California have much higher sales tax rates than Texas, for instance, and they have state income taxes to boot. Yes, you need taxes for civilization, but efficiency in the use of tax dollars plays a role in how steep the taxes need to be.

Re:Water Filters? Hello? (1)

ndege (12658) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961760)

Linuxrocks123: what do you consider "fairly moderate sales tax"?

Case in point, Cleveland, TN (just north east of Chattanooga, TN) has a 10.25% sales tax. The local municipality decided to add 1% to cover basic infrastructure improvements such as roads to the already high 9.25% statewide sales tax.

The good side of living in Tennessee is that there is no state income tax and low real estate property taxes. So, it is a great place to earn a living, as long as you don't buy a lot of stuff.

Oh, and that 10.25% tax applies to food purchases too; even groceries.

Sales tax / VAT rates (1)

wflynn (869979) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961824)

Sales taxes in the US are low by European standards, nearly all of which are in the 15% to 25% range. However I find it much easier in Europe as the VAT is included in the price displayed, rather than added on at the till like US sales taxes.

Re:Water Filters? Hello? (4, Informative)

Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961266)

Have materially lower living standards (like Ireland)

Would you mind clarifying exactly what you mean by that comment? According to this, Ireland [mapsofworld.com] is in the top ten places in the world in terms of standard of living, and was selected as the happiest place on earth by the Economist Intelligence Unit in 2005.

Re:Water Filters? Hello? (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961616)

I'm looking at this map you've linked to however I can't determine how they came up it. It's just random countries with a paragraph about how tourists like to visit the places.

Re:Water Filters? Hello? (2, Informative)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961994)

Places with "low taxes" either:

  1. Have a higher, hidden tax burden (like southern US states with their high, regressive sales taxes)
  2. Have materially lower living standards (like Ireland)

You can't get a modern civilization for pennies on the dollar.

Ireland doesn't have much lower taxes than elsewhere, income tax and VAT are quite average I believe, there's a very high tax on alcohol and cigarettes (Seriously, look at the prices of these here if you don't believe me, I doubt you'll find somewhere more expensive to drink and smoke in without some effort), as is, IIRC, tax on petrol.
It's only really corporations that pay low tax, and it's made up for in many ways.

Also lower living standards? What the fuck comes to your mind when you think of Ireland, people living in mud houses rationing their years supply of potatoes and poitín?
I'm sitting here in an apartment 50% paid for by the government, getting free 3rd level education (apart from a registration fee, which gets refunded to me by the government), and just waiting for my second of 3 cheques for over €1,000 from the government for simply going to college while not being rich.
By what definition is this "lower living standards"?

Re:Water Filters? Hello? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30961140)

Well, you're wrong. Due to the autoprotolysis of water (2H2O OH- + H3O+) even the purest possible water conducts electricity, even though not a lot. There is probably another reason why they need really pure water.

Did you sleep during highschool chemistry classes?

Re:Water Filters? Hello? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30961166)

I'm guessing you just ignored your lessons in common courtesy.

Re:Water Filters? Hello? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30962148)

Due to the autoprotolysis of water (2H2O OH- + H3O+) even the purest possible water conducts electricity, even though not a lot.

Did you sleep during highschool chemistry classes?

It would seem that you did sleep through your highschool chemistry, because just after they tell you about autoprotolysis of water, they tell you that the equilibrium constant for that reaction is 1e-14, so that truly pure water contains only 2e-7 M charge carriers. This gives it a resistivity in excess of 2e5 ohm-meters. The resistivity of glass is around 1e9 ohm-meters, carbon around 1e-4, metals around 1e-8. Pure water is a very good insulator.

Re:Water Filters? Hello? (3, Interesting)

DrRobert (179090) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961974)

The water used for chip manufacture is a very ultrapure water created through an involved process using mixed media beds, filters, and reverse osmosis membranes. The fertilizer would have never made it to the chip but would have likely fouled the ultrapure water production equipment as it needs repetitively clean feed water. The molecules in the water actually etch the surface of the silicone if they are not removed. - according to an ultrapure water production class I attended.

Re:Water Filters? Hello? (5, Interesting)

PhysicsPhil (880677) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962090)

I work in a semiconductor foundry, although not something on the scale of Intel. Foundries need ultrapure water not to get electrical insulation, but to remove contamination. Sodium, for example, acts as a mobile charge centre in silicon dioxide and changes the electrical properties of the devices.

Foundries use reverse osmosis filters (not distillation) to get their deionized water, where they push water at pressure through a semipermeable membrane (i.e. permeable to water, not contaminants). RO membranes can get destroyed by unexpected contaminants, and so usually there are prefilters in place to take care of them. Some years ago we lost a (very expensive) membrane when the prefilter was accidentally swapped out but not replaced. My guess is that the fertilizer in the water supply had something that the prefilters/RO membrane couldn't handle, or couldn't handle so much of. Either they lost the membrane or shut things down as a precaution.

Re:Water Filters? Hello? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30960940)

They surely have, as the water in the water supply are never pure, but there is a difference between purifying normal water, and contaminated water.

I'd guess their system could not handle, (or could not process enough of), the contaminated water.

Re:Brain Filters? Hello? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30960942)

Wow, something like this get's modded Insightful?! Do you think only morons work at Intel? You just can't filter everything.

Re:Brain Filters? Hello? (1)

mim (535591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961004)

Hm, maybe those "morons," should have had a contingency in place for an occurrence such as this. Water pollution is quite common.

Re:Brain Filters? Hello? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961164)

They did. The plan is to take the plant offline.

I guess they might work with the local government to make sure they have enough salt in the future (by paying for extra storage or whatever).

Re:Water Filters? Hello? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30960968)

This is testable. Add 100g of nitrate fertilizer to 4 liters of water, and let it sit overnight. In the morning pour the water through your filter of choice and then drink the result. Delicious right?

Filters and purification mechanisms have limits, those limits are chosen at design time based on the range of pollutants expected in the input water. If you increase those pollutants by orders of magnitude it's likely the purification system you have just won't cut it.

But salt. (1)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961172)

Normally they would use salt for roads. Salt cannot be removed either by filtration. I think ammonia get filtered by active coal, but salt not?

anyway, the beer they make will taste worse with fertilizer thatn with salt.

Re:Water Filters? Hello? (5, Insightful)

Xenkar (580240) | more than 4 years ago | (#30960970)

Water filters aren't magical devices. They can only filter so much crap out of the water before they need to be replaced. It might not make financial sense to continue operating the plant if they have to replace the filter for every fifty gallons of water they use.

Re:Water Filters? Hello? (2, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#30960992)

OK then, Invent the perfect filter or distillation method and I'm sure Intel will buy it from you.

Re:Water Filters? Hello? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30961308)

Invent the perfect...distillation method

You probably can't significantly improve on this [wikipedia.org] . Trouble is, that shit gets expensive. It's much easier just to work with good raw materials if at all possible.

Re:Water Filters? Hello? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30961778)

Burn Hydrogen and Oxygen in a controlled environment.
Siphon heat off with a heatsink to warm building. Drain pure water for production. Win-Win.

Use water synthesis Re:Water Filters? Hello? (2, Interesting)

La Gris (531858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961812)

Use water synthesis:

1. Buy hydrogen and oxygen.
2. Burn the pure hydrogen with pure oxygen into a fuel cell.
3. Get electricity in the process
4. Get pure water

Sure, the process would not be cheep.

What a fucked up move (5, Interesting)

Masa (74401) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961044)

Why they even bother salting roads when there is -12 degrees Celsius? Salting is only sensible when there is about -4 degrees (at least that is a rule of thumb here in Finland). Also, using fertilizers is so completely boneheaded move because that's plain and simple polluting. I guess that someone made a risk analysis and decided that polluting groundwater supplies causes less deaths than icy roads. But I can't help but wonder what the long-term effects are for environment and groundwater.

Re:What a fucked up move (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30961086)

They salted the roads at -12C because they were doing it at four or five in the morning; by noon the temperature was around zero.

Re:What a fucked up move (3, Interesting)

zoney_ie (740061) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961110)

Actually for about 3 weeks there were only about 3 days where there was a thaw at midday - and that was the situation further south. It was pretty dramatic weather for somewhere that normally has relatively mild winters (even the usual week or two of more extreme weather is just a few degrees below freezing at night, and as you say, about zero by day). The outdoor temperature one morning at 10:30 AM (admittedly an hour and a half to go till midday) was -11C with freezing fog causing rather pretty ice constructions to stealthily grow on every surface!

The council's actions were pretty much an act of desperation. It was awkward enough over the Christmas holidays (and people did die on the roads) but once people went back to work, with supplies pretty much exhausted and neighbours all having to conserve rock salt too, things were pretty dire.

We'd have been completely snookered but for some investment in winter gear for the councils during the boom years. Previously in the 80s/90s a lot of councils probably would only have had a pick-up truck with guys with shovels to spread grit - now there are fleets of gritters with snowplough attachments and also supporting off-road vehicles with plough attachments - plus afaik some councils in parts of the country where it is more necessary have actual snowploughs too. However circumstances were nevertheless exacerbated by councils having limited 2009 budget left for paying overtime, so some of this kit stayed at home during Christmas.

Things were bad enough that parts of the motorway network were temporarily reduced to one lane operation, and there was consideration given to closing even some major routes if the thaw hadn't arrived when it did.

Re:What a fucked up move (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30961236)

For much of that time, it was colder, not warmer, further south (e.g., in Carlow). The met office recorded that the maximum daily temperatures near Leixlip (where Intel is) for most of the first two weeks in January were between about 0 and 3C (mostly around 1C). The thermometer in my car concurred.

Other than that, yeah, what you said.

Re:What a fucked up move (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962024)

The council's actions were pretty much an act of desperation. It was awkward enough over the Christmas holidays (and people did die on the roads) but once people went back to work, with supplies pretty much exhausted and neighbours all having to conserve rock salt too, things were pretty dire.

You know what they should have put down? Sand. With temperatures that cold, they should have given up on melting the ice while conserving their rock salt supplies. When warmer temperatures return, they'd be able to resume salting the roads. Oh well, that's the power of hindsight.

Re:What a fucked up move (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30961098)

It practically never becomes that cold in Ireland. It's quite rare to get sub-zero temperatures here, nevermind -12. This situation was unprecedented. There was not enough equipment or supplies of salt and grit and this was a last resort. It's easy for someone living in a country which experiences this regularly to criticize the actions of a country who doesn't. In my lifetime I had never seen snow at 6" before. The councils and the people were extremely unprepared and I'm sure that the last thing on Kildare Co. Council's mind was runoff into the river affecting Intel.

Re:What a fucked up move (1)

richlv (778496) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961716)

still, "extreme cold" in summary just sounds braindead.

as for decisions on salting and such, is ireland somehow isolated ? no internet, no traveling chances ? could have tried asking countries a bit to the east how to deal with snow...

anyway, salting is a very bad thing anyway. it does serious damage to plants/trees, cars, boots and probably doesn't improve water, as in this case. additionally, it indeed only works for a few degrees below zero, thus resulting in complete ice as soon as temperatures drop below some -10 or so.

ps. ok, travel shouldn't be obstructed - probably half of our population has emigrated to ireland anyway ;>

Re:What a fucked up move (0)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961906)

Sub Zero for you dingbats using the metric measurement isn't cold. Bitch when it's -12 below Zero f

Then you might have something to complain about.

Re:What a fucked up move (0, Redundant)

Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961112)

-12 is pretty unusual hereabouts, as evidenced by the way they ran out of salt and grit for the roads in the first place; the local authorities just weren't prepared or expecting it, at the end of the day. Not that they are beacons of competence as a rule anyway, jobs for life and all that.

Re:What a fucked up move (1)

richlv (778496) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961724)

especially given that salt at -12 will just get you that - salt on top of ice. with all the added environmental damage when it gets warmer.

There are different type of salts (2, Informative)

aepervius (535155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961134)

rock salts can go down to -12 or something If I recall correctly, whereas afterward you have to use other type of salt (potassium or calcium chlorid?) which go down to -22C.

Re:There are different type of salts (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961280)

So they should have just sprayed a fine layer of Guinness? That would provide a nice thermal blanket for the roads, traction, and by the time the head forms you'd know it's time to spray again.

Re:What a fucked up move (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30961136)

-12C Was probably an overnight low. Fertilizer or salt can go a long way towards keeping a hard slick glaze of ice from forming so it can help even when not melting. Tarmac has great solar gain so if there is some sun (probably unlikely in Ireland in winter) ice could melt at -12C. Fertilizer, at least urea, can melt ice at -12C. It still sounds boneheaded, it it is too much for Intel's water treatment I wouldn't want to drink it. And nitrates could really mess up infants.

Re:What a fucked up move (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30961216)

Interesting that it was a Green minister who was responsible for this action

Re:What a fucked up move (0, Offtopic)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961322)

Direct family deaths due to icy roads or a few random cancer hotspots?
Taxing you and then not clearing the roads is bad and cannot be hidden.
Fertilisers in the water can be dumbed down as a pinko communist atheist conspiracy over a few decades, then the clusters drop off.

Re:What a fucked up move (1)

sleeping143 (1523137) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961736)

If you'd have just rtfs, you'd see that they were using it to grit the roads, not necessarily to melt the ice. Even if you have a salt that will lower the freezing point of water at -12c, it will be very slow because each grain will be acting on such a small surface area initially. If you can put down some abrasive, though, it'll help grind away at the ice (at any temperature) as cars drive over it. Honestly, using sand would have made hugely more sense, especially mixed with salt (a common technique in the upper midwest).

Re:What a fucked up move (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962102)

lol it hasn't even made it up to -12C for about week here. it's -15C right now here. The high is -10C for today. just another day in January here. For the record we do have some low temp "Salts" here. They are a deicing chemical that is UV reactant. A short google doesn't turn up anything but let me assure you that the stuff works just fine at -20 to -30C as long as it's sunny out.

Gritting is just silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30961070)

I find all this gritting of roads silly.

What would be more logical would be spike-wheel attachments for cars! Doubly as fun too!
Now i CAN blame the snow for spiking my enemies to death with my car.

Re:Gritting is just silly (2, Interesting)

beyonddeath (592751) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961454)

They sell studable winter tires, although in many places they are illegal, for the reason you pointed out, plus they destroy the pavement. On the up side, if you can use them, I hear you can stick to ice as if it were pavement. Though with modern winter tires, even 10" of snow isnt a major issue even for most vehicles. I have only had issues in my corolla with Gislavid winter tires when the snow was high enough to start coming up the hood and over the windshied. If i stopped I couldnt get moving forward again wthout reversing and making a running start at it.

winter tires. (1)

wflynn (869979) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961884)

It wold be nearly unheard of for anyone in Ireland to have winter / snow tires, as they might only be needed for a couple of days every few years. The normal adverse weather we have to contend with is rain, at any time of the year.

Re:winter tires. (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962146)

but was here really a huge pile of snow? or was it more like a thin layer of ice? thin layer of ice + careful attentive driving == no issues.

/me lives in MN, USA

Use Irish Whiskey instead . . . (3, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961094)

Alcohol melts ice, right? And Ireland is awash in whiskey . . . well at least Killinaskully seems to be. So they could have sprayed whiskey on the roads instead of fertilizer.

Of course, the road crews would ask:

"So we're to be spraying good whiskey on the roads to clear them of ice, are we? Do ye mind if we pass that whiskey through our kidneys first?"

I'm not sure what effect whiskey in the water supply would have on Intel's manufacturing process, but the public wouldn't mind having a wee bit in their morning tee.

Actually, the general public would be so toasted that wouldn't give a damn about Intel.

Re:Use Irish Whiskey instead . . . (5, Informative)

bigdaisy (30400) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961292)

You are closer to the truth than you think: the fertilizer they were spreading was actually urea [independent.ie] !

that's typical for the irish (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30961228)

i worked three years for an irish firm. they are just too stupid and don't give a shit. the English should have bombed them back into stone age...

Similar thing happened to Inmos in the 70's (5, Interesting)

twisting_department (1329331) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961252)

Strangely enough Inmos had a similar pollution problem caused by the local water company in south Wales:

What had actually happened, as we found out three months later, was that on Christmas Eve the engineers at the local reservoir decided to celebrate. They were supposed to stay on site, so what they did was to dump 100 times the standard level of chlorine into the water supply, then go off and have a Christmas party. That chlorine totally ruined our semiconductor plant. The result was that the Americans said, "These Brits don't know what they're doing. Get rid of them!". The semiconductor facility was taken away and put under the control of the Americans who were deemed to understand these things.

Seems the the Yanks can't defend themselves against this sort of thing either! http://www.cs.manchester.ac.uk/CCS/res/res33.htm/ [manchester.ac.uk]

Superfund site karma (3, Insightful)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961274)

The sites intel left in the USA to be cleaned up by the US gov.
A generation later Intel now needs its water cleaning up.

"Filtration" ?? WTF?? (2, Informative)

braindump (4788) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961278)

I just don't get this. Chip fabs don't filter water, they force it through reverse osmosis, and then deionize it. It doesn't matter what's in the water to begin with, after that process is complete, there's absolutely nothing left. This story therefore, makes no sense.

Re:"Filtration" ?? WTF?? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30961568)

RO is just one step of many to make Ultra Pure Water - Urea has been a problem in semiconductor fabs for a long time - enough can sneak through the reverse osmosis, electrodeionization, ion exchange, etc, to get incorporated in the photoresist, which then breaks down under the UV light when it gets exposed, and splits into two ammonia molecules, which shifts the pH and causes under cutting of the photoresist. Intel in Portland OR added a few million dollars of processing equipment to react out the urea before it can cause a problem.

How do I know all of this? I make 20,000 gallons per day of Nano-Research grade water, which is even purer than semiconductor fab water. Which means I hang out with the all the ultrapure water people from Intel, TI, AMD, IBM, etc

Urea contamination is old news........

Reverse osmosis.... (1)

BarneyRabble (866644) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961284)

That could take care of the pure water problem. But I am not sure Intel thought of that with all that brain power there.

AMD (1)

mikey177 (1426171) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961306)

it was a inside job put out by AMD to slow them down and get ahead of the compatation.

Re:AMD (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961748)

Could they truck in some water from the Irish Spring?

Seriously, should we be looking at high dams as a source of pressurized water for reverse osmosis.

--

compatation. Its what couch potatoes do.

Need Pure? Be Filtering Anyway. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30961382)

So, if Intel needed pure water before this "leak" it would certainly have been filtering its water...

No News Here... move along

filters work to make water pure (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30961492)

They may not want to spend the money on a real purifying system. They are very expensive but the water will have a greater than 18 megaohm resistance. I work in a pharmaceutical plant and our water is what they call nanopure. We have a Reverse Osmosis deionizing system. The water that goes in has visible rust or dirt floaties. The ions in our water are removed. A conductivity meter reads 0 microsemens at the faucet. It is possible to have clean water, but it'll cost.

The really bad part is that most people don't have any kind of filtration system at home so they will be drinking all the fertilizer contamination. Cheap, but decently performing RO systems can be had for 200 bucks in the States. I got one that takes incoming 250-400ppm total dissolved solid city water and outputs 10-20 ppm water. purewaterclub.com is where I got mine. took a bit of effort to fix leaky connectors, but for the price some of that was expected.

Re:filters work to make water pure (3, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30961630)

They are very expensive but the water will have a greater than 18 megaohm resistance.

The resistance rather depends on how much of it you have and how it's arranged. Put it another way: resistance is not a property of substances.

The ions in our water are removed. A conductivity meter reads 0 microsemens

That's inconceivable. I'd expect it to be a little ova that.

What's amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30961496)

is the utter arrogance of Slashdot readers who think that a town council should consider Intel's interests before doing their job. Intel is most probably not the only business in town, nor the only large ratepayer.

Re:What's amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30961952)

Have a drink from the faucet lately? Is it kool-aid flavored yet?

Only -12 that is not cold (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30961498)

In Canada last December we hit -52c with a windchill of -60. Not only that but we were only the second coldest place on the planet. That title belonged to somewhere in Siberia, I pity those poor Russians.

Once it hits that cold the roads are no longer icy and it is much like driving on bare pavement. I was really doubting global warming that day.

Re:Only -12 that is not cold (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30961596)

Yeah, a lot of irish people have canadian relatives. A common comment during the freeze was how ill-prepared our country is for even the slightest cold snap compared to canada. Shrug. Ireland is not known for extremes of climate apart from endless rain and fog (people, especially tourists, sometimes still manage to die of exposure, not realising how quickly you lose body heat to the saturated air). So they'll buy up a load of cold supplies now, and then three years from now get criticised for wasting taxpayer money on storing and maintaining big piles of salt and grit, garages of snowploughs etc. So stuff will slowly get used up, moved about, used for other stuff, sold to other countries, then in another 15 years, there'll be another cold snap, and people will be like "why was the government so ill prepared", etc., etc. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Beer & Whiskey (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30961522)

This is why Beer was the drink of choice for so long. People drank beer day and night because... The water wasn't safe to drink.

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