GlobalFoundries is making plans to install two giant water tanks at its Fab 8 complex to provide a backup water supply for the $10 billion computer chipmaking operation.
The 5-million-gallon tanks would be located on a portion of the 223-acre Fab 8 property in Stillwater. The tanks would be connected to the Fab 8 factories in the Malta portion of the site by a 24-inch line, according to documents filed with the town of Malta.
Each tank would be similar in size to the Saratoga County Water Authority tank on Cordero Boulevard in Stillwater that now supplies GlobalFoundries’ needs.
Construction of the new tanks could address what has been a long-standing concern for Fab 8 officials: What would happen if the plant’s main water service were interrupted and it needed a backup supply?
Their water would still come from the county authority, which takes its raw water from the Hudson River upstream of Glens Falls. The supply in the tank, however, would be on hand if some event were to interrupt the water authority’s normal delivery.
GlobalFoundries spokesman Travis Bullard confirmed the company is working with the county water authority on plans for the tanks.
Malta Building and Planning Director Anthony Tozzi said the Malta Planning Board heard an initial presentation on the plans Tuesday and could make a decision at its Dec. 16 meeting. Malta has jurisdiction over the portion of the plans that are in Malta, although Stillwater town officials must approve the actual installation of the tanks.
The Saratoga County Planning Board took no action Thursday, with county Planning Director Jason Kemper saying the plans may need approval from the state Department of Health first, since a public water supply is involved.
GlobalFoundries has its Fab 8 factory in commercial production with roughly 3,000 permanent workers, and is fitting up a technology development center that will include manufacturing capacity. There are also plans for a second full factory at the site in the future.
Chipmaking uses enormous volumes of purified water to clean chips that have been treated with chemicals or gases during the manufacturing process. Fab 8 has been using about 3 million gallons per day in recent months, according to county Water Authority reports, but the volume is expected to keep growing as more chip production comes on line.
Company officials have said since at least 2011 they need to have a backup supply to ensure they can continue production in an emergency.