Sustainability: Environmental responsibility: Water and wastewater management

Water is a key ingredient in semiconductor manufacturing: we use it to create deionized water, a critical component in our production processes. Our primary water supply at most of our manufacturing sites is local municipal water. Because water is so important to our operations and the communities where we operate, we take great care to use it responsibly and efficiently, focusing first on reducing overall consumption and then reusing and recycling water in our processes where feasible.

We periodically consult with local water authorities to evaluate and monitor water quality and availability, and to assess their long-term storage projections and usage needs. See more on water-scarcity risk management in business continuity.

We manage three types of water use globally that constitute our water footprint:

  • Nonmanufacturing water: used in restrooms, irrigation, water fountains and cafeterias.
  • Manufacturing water: used in rinse-bath fills and other processes.
  • Manufacturing support water: used in process exhaust and cooling systems.

In order to conserve this natural resource, maintain water quality and reduce our utility expense, we routinely identify and invest in new ways to reduce our consumption of water, reduce and/or segregate chemicals discharged, and recycle and reuse water.

Management controls

The Audit Committee of the board of directors oversees our environmental compliance efforts and risk assessment process. The company's vice president of worldwide facilities and environmental, safety and health (ESH), who reports directly to our chief financial officer, oversees our water initiatives. These initiatives are coordinated and managed by the company's Water Process System team, which includes corporate environmental leaders as well as water quality, chemistry and system experts.

We use stringent management controls to monitor and reduce potential risks related to water quality, water supply, flooding and drought. Our Business Continuity and Water Process System teams monitor such risks and respond as needed.

Additional controls related to water use include:

  • Requiring all sites to adhere to our ESH policies and principles, which holistically ensure that we conserve resources.
  • Screening chemicals used in manufacturing that have the potential to impact water quality. We restrict the use of some chemicals and ban others outright. We adhere to established processes and controls to ensure that water quality complies with regulatory limits before discharge.
  • Maintaining comprehensive water-management programs at all sites to identify and mitigate potential impacts. Our ESH management system is certified to the Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS) 18001 and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001 standard. (OHSAS and ISO are internationally recognized standards that establish ESH management criteria.) All but one of our sites are third-party OHSAS- and ISO-certified.
  • Conducting regular meetings among Water Process System team members to collaborate on water-related projects, share information and best practices, and troubleshoot issues.
  • Ensuring that local management teams track water use, implement water-use reduction best practices, conduct routine site assessments, and allocate capital to mitigate risks when needed. They also monitor and ensure compliance with regulatory and company standards and report monthly to our worldwide ESH management team. (Our company water standard establishes minimum expectations for tracking water use and for maintaining water collection, monitoring and treatment systems. This standard applies to our manufacturing sites around the world and its requirements are in addition to applicable regulatory requirements.) Individual operations have specific water-management plans that take into account local climate and hydrogeology, water availability and existing controls.
  • Evaluating each manufacturing site’s adherence to both company and regulatory standards through periodic internal site audits.

Each year, we voluntarily report our water use footprint to CDP (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project) as well as in our annual Citizenship Performance Summary.

Innovative conservation

TI’s corporate Water Strategy team focuses specifically on increasing global water efficiency. Each year, we fund capital-improvement projects to further reduce, recycle and reuse water, especially in newly owned facilities. Additionally, each site has an appointed water champion to gather and share water use data with our Water Strategy team and ultimately help further our water-efficiency efforts. This global network of water champions also shares best practices in water management using a global database of water-reduction projects.

Our water sources include surface water, groundwater and even collected rainwater, so we are sensitive to our potential impact on the water needs of communities where we operate. To evaluate and monitor water quality and availability, we periodically consult with local water authorities to assess their long-term storage and usage needs.

For example, our Texas sites, which make up the largest concentration of our operations, stay connected with the Texas Water Development Board and its survey activities. Since we are stakeholders in the Dallas Water Utilities long-range water-supply project, we participate in related public meetings and stay current on the project's status. This enables us to help shape the community's water supply into the future and prepare our own operations accordingly.

Additionally, we routinely identify and implement mechanisms that improve water reuse and reduce overall consumption. Our innovations include installing waterless urinals to collecting rainwater for landscape irrigation.

We reclaim and recycle about a quarter of the water used in our manufacturing operations worldwide. This water is directed back into our system for reuse in cooling towers, scrubbers or in manufacturing.

Additionally, different locations present unique opportunities for creatively conserving water. Some of our water projects include:

Conservation
  • Three Dallas, Texas, sites installed water recirculation units on thermal processing equipment, which reduces our use of city water by approximately 131 million gallons annually.
  • We reduce water alkalinity (pH) in two Dallas cooling towers to prevent calcium buildup and scaling along the tower walls. As a result, less water is needed to flush the mineral-concentrated water. This activity alone saves more than 74 million gallons of water each year and also reduces treatment costs.
  • In Scotland, our Greenock site implemented a tool optimization project that enabled it to conserve more than 10 million gallons of water annually.
  • In Germany, our Freising site optimized its water purification plant to save more than 16 million gallons annually.
Reuse and recycling
  • Our TI Clark site in the Philippines increased pump capacity to maximize the amount of condensate and microfiltration water directed to its cooling tower. This is expected to reduce potable water use by 100 million gallons annually, as well as reduce biocide treatment at the cooling tower. The site also reuses nonindustrial water for flushing, which saves 5.5 million gallons annually.
  • Our Baguio City site in the Philippines reuses reverse-osmosis reject water for toilet flushing, saving 24 million gallons annually.
  • The central utility plant cooling towers in Dallas reuses roughly 127 million gallons of water from various on-site sources.
  • One of our sites in Japan, Miho strictly adheres to a zero-impact, zero-industrial discharge policy. Most water at this site is reused, with the rest used as cooling water for air conditioning.
  • In addition, we reuse reverse-osmosis reject water at our DMOS5 deionized water plant in Dallas. We clean up reject water and then send it back to the front of the water plant as feed water. This effort reduces consumption by about 62 million gallons annually. In Japan, our Aizu site implemented a similar process where the reverse-osmosis reject water normally discharged as wastewater will now be recycled, resulting in an annual savings of approximately 45 million gallons.
Education

We educate our workforce on how to reduce the size of TI's water footprint through our internal sustainability website, periodic intranet articles and educational activities during events such as Earth Week. We encourage employees to report leaks and to avoid running water unnecessarily.

Wastewater

TI’s water management standard establishes minimum expectations for wastewater and stormwater management. This standard applies to our manufacturing and assembly/test sites around the world and establishes requirements beyond applicable regulatory requirements. Local management teams monitor and ensure compliance with both regulatory and company standards and report monthly to our worldwide ESH management team. We also routinely make significant investments in wastewater system upgrades to maintain compliance, update our processes and ensure water quality.

Our Water Process System team, which is comprised of TIers who are system experts from around the world, meets regularly to collaborate on wastewater-related projects, share information and best practices, and troubleshoot issues. The team also helps monitor site operations to ensure compliance with effluent limits.

We discharge most of our treated wastewater to municipal sewers. Municipalities impose rigorous permit conditions on TI, including frequent monitoring and inspections. In addition to permit conditions, we internally assess our industrial wastewater treatment plants annually, conduct audits every three years, and hire trained or certified operators as required.