Groundwater cleanup

DEQ is overseeing the cleanup of a past release of hazardous substances to groundwater from the Intel Aloha Campus located in Beaverton.

Air quality permit

Intel signIntel manufactures semiconductor devices at plants in Aloha and Hillsboro. DEQ issued these facilities a single air contaminant discharge permit in December 2007. DEQ now requires these facilities to apply for a federal Title V air operating permit, which will replace the current permit. DEQ proposes to establish new plant site emission limits for particulate matter, fine particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter referred to as PM2.5, fluorides and greenhouse gases. DEQ also is proposing to increase emission limits for volatile organic compounds. Intel’s manufacturing processes and boilers emit air pollutants, including greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases became regulated air pollutants in 2010. DEQ is proposing increased plant site emission limits for volatile organic compounds, fluorides and greenhouse gases due to a large expansion currently under way at Intel.

Air quality permit update October 2015

DEQ proposed to issue a construction permit for Intel’s D1X expansion. DEQ accepted written comments on the proposed permit until 5 p.m., Nov. 20, 2015, and held a hearing to accept verbal comments. 

Update January 2015

DEQ held a public information meeting on Thursday, Feb. 19 on the Intel air quality permit application required by a mutual agreement between DEQ and Intel. The application is for a construction permit for the D1X expansion. Intel also submitted, with its application, an air quality analysis and control technology review for fluorides, as also required by the mutual agreement and order.
The deadline for comments on the permit application is Friday, Feb. 27. See public notice for information about how to comment.
DEQ will use public input in drafting the construction permit. DEQ will then put that proposed permit out for public comment, hold a hearing, respond to comments received and issue the construction permit. After the construction permit is issued DEQ will resume drafting the Title V operating permit.

Update April 2014

On Wednesday, April 23, 2014, DEQ signed a mutual agreement and order with Intel Corporation to address violations of state law concerning its fluoride emissions and beginning construction of new semiconductor facilities at the Ronler Acres facility in Hillsboro without getting proper approval.
This negotiated agreement between DEQ and Intel details what Intel must do to correct the violations. As part of the order, Intel agreed to pay a $143,000 civil penalty.
The mutual agreement and order identifies three violations and required actions. The violations are:
  • Failing to notify DEQ of Intel’s fluorides emissions;
  • Failing to obtain a permit to emit fluorides;
  • Beginning construction of Fab D1X and Fab 20 without first obtaining the proper construction approval.
The order requires Intel, among other things, to submit a permit application to correct the violations of failing to obtain a permit to emit fluorides and failing to get the proper construction approval. Intel must submit the permit application by Dec. 31, 2014. There will be a public involvement process associated with this permit action.
Intel must test emissions to get a better idea of how much fluorides and hydrogen fluoride it emits. This information will be used in the permit application. Intel must also provide quarterly information on its fluoride emissions to DEQ and to the public.
Intel corrected the violation of failing to notify DEQ of Intel’s fluorides emissions in its Title V permit application submitted April 12, 2012.

For more information

Fluorides and hydrogen fluoride
Fluorides are organic and inorganic compounds that contain fluorine and dissolve in water and release a fluoride ion. For regulatory purposes, fluorides do not include hydrogen fluoride. Both fluorides and hydrogen fluoride are air pollutants, but state and federal permitting programs treat them differently. Fluorides are classified as a regulated pollutant and in Oregon are subject to DEQ’s plant site emission limit rules. Hydrogen fluoride is a hazardous air pollutant. In general, plant site emission limits are not established for specific hazardous air pollutants.

Health effects of fluorides and hydrogen fluoride
Intel emits fluorides and hydrogen fluoride from its manufacturing operations. These emissions are first treated in pollution control systems. Pollution control systems are not perfect, so facility operations still emit some fluorides and hydrogen fluoride. The fluorides and hydrogen fluoride disperse into the air and are diluted to still lower concentrations the further they travel. People living and working near Intel’s manufacturing operations may be exposed to low concentrations of fluorides and hydrogen fluoride. Both fluorides and hydrogen fluoride are very water-soluble and are washed out of the air by rain and may accumulate on vegetation and in the soil. Through the public process DEQ heard many people express concern about acute exposure to the pollutants Intel emits. Acute exposure refers to a short term exposure to a substance, often at a relatively high concentration. This type of exposure generally results from hazardous material spills, or when workplace accidents occur. Normal operation of a manufacturing facility does not generally result in a short term, high concentration exposure. Depending on the amount of pollutant emitted and local weather patterns emissions from normal operations may result in chronic or long term, low concentration exposure. Chronic exposure refers to long term exposure to a substance, generally at relatively low concentrations. Chronic exposure to relatively low concentrations of air pollutants is very common  around the world. There are many sources of air pollutants that result in chronic exposure. Such sources include residential wood combustion, manufacturing operations, automobiles, paint shops, consumer products and dry cleaners.

Air quality standards for fluorides and hydrogen fluoride
National Ambient Air Quality Standards have not been established for fluorides or hydrogen fluoride. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has established National Ambient Air Quality Standards for the common air pollutants particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and ozone. These ambient air quality standards are set at levels that are intended to protect human health and the environment. DEQ conducts ambient air quality monitoring to determine if the National Ambient Air Quality Standards are being met. If these standards are not met in an area, DEQ must take action to reduce emissions in that area so that the air quality standards will be met. Oregon has set an air toxics benchmark for hydrogen fluoride of 14 micrograms per cubic meter air of air over an annual averaging period. A microgram is one-millionth of a gram. A benchmark is an advisory goal that DEQ has set, but unlike an air quality standard, there are no laws that require the benchmark to be met. Oregon does not currently have a benchmark set for fluorides.
On April 23, 2014, DEQ gave a presentation to explain the Mutual Agreement and Order and the path forward.