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Intel

Air quality permit for semiconductor manufacturing

Intel Corporation operates two semiconductor manufacturing facilities in Washington County, Oregon. They are the Gordon Moore Park at Ronler Acres campus in Hillsboro and the Aloha campus in Aloha. Both campuses produce semiconductor products, more commonly called computer chips. Both campuses emit pollution and are regulated by DEQ's Air Quality Program under a single air quality permit, called a Standard Air Contaminant Discharge Permit, that DEQ issued in 2016 and modified in 2022.

Public involvement

The public comment period for the draft air quality permit opened as of Jan. 10, 2024. DEQ held a virtual public hearing on Feb. 15, 2024.

The comment period closes on Friday, March 1, 2024 at 5 p.m.

Submit your comment  
  • By email: nwraqpermits@deq.oregon.gov
  • By mail: Oregon DEQ, Northwest Region Air Quality Permit Coordinator, 700 NE Multnomah St. Ste. 600, Portland, OR 97232-4100

You can also read about key elements of the permit below.

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Proposed changes to operations

Intel proposes to make changes to their operations that include additional fabrication (fab) cleanroom space at the Hillsboro campus and increased emissions from the existing fab spaces at both campuses due to advances in manufacturing technology and additional manufacturing support operations. On July 7, 2023, Intel submitted a permit modification application for approval of these proposed changes - proposed increased emissions of air contaminants are shown below.

​As of Sept. 7, 2023, DEQ determined Intel's application to be complete. DEQ held a virtual public information meeting on Oct. 11, 2023. The purpose of the meeting was to provide an overview of the proposed permit, answer questions and learn what community members would like DEQ to consider during the permit drafting process.  

People are welcome to send questions any time to Nina DeConcini at nina.deconcini@deq.oregon.gov.

DEQ drafted an air quality permit that complies with all state and federal regulations and considered what was shared at the Sept. 7, 2023 public information meeting. DEQ opened the public comment period on Jan. 10, 2024, which will conclude on March 1, 2024. DEQ held a virtual public hearing on Feb. 15, 2024​


There are several special conditions in the draft air quality permit:

  • Nitrogen oxides (NOx) ambient monitoring: The purpose of this ambient monitoring is to confirm that Intel's emissions of NOx will not cause or significantly contribute to an exceedance of a federal ambient air quality limit and is protective of public health and the environment.

  • Best Available Control Technology analysis: This analysis evaluated whether Intel could switch to different pollution controls to better control pollution, taking cost into account. DEQ's analysis found that Intel is already using the best available pollution controls.

  • Voluntary pollution controls: Intel voluntarily installed two kinds of pollution controls on some of its equipment. First, catalytic diesel particulate filters are installed on some newer emergency generator engines and reduce the amount of particulate matter, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds emitted. Second, wet electrostatic precipitators are installed on some wet scrubber exhausts and reduce particulate matter emissions.

  • More frequent testing: Intel has proposed increasing how often it tests emissions from production process emissions control devices. This includes testing of the rotor concentrator thermal oxidizers every two years instead of every five, and the wet scrubbers every year instead of every five.

  • Pilot test new pollution controls: Intel is proposing to install and test a new NOx emissions reduction system that has not been tested before. If the test is successful, Intel may install it throughout its facilities. If unsuccessful, it will be abandoned. Note, Intel had applied to run this test under a separate permit modification before the application for the proposed plant expansion project was submitted. For simplicity, DEQ is including the test and the expansion project in the same permitting process.​

Intel is subject to requirements under the Cleaner Air Oregon program, DEQ's industrial air toxics permitting program, however, Intel was only required to submit an emissions inventory for the proposed permit modification. This provided DEQ with information on all additional emissions of toxic air contaminants. Intel will be required to complete a facility-wide risk assessment when DEQ formally “calls-in" the facility to the CAO program, which will be done according to the Prioritization Groupings for existing facilities. ​

Permit application review

DEQ reviewed the permit application materials, pollution modeling and air quality analysis – these materials are below. DEQ considered this information and the feedback at the public information meeting mentioned above when drafting the permit.

Draft air quality permit

View the Current and Proposed Plant Site Emission Limits

Frequently asked questions

A change to a permit can be a major modification for a number of reasons, including change in amount of emissions or how a facility is operating as described in DEQ's rules. What it means is that DEQ must do a more in-depth review and analysis including modeling emissions and how the surrounding community will be exposed and demonstrating that the changes will not cause the area to be out of compliance with federal air quality standards.

If you'd like to read more about the specific rules Intel needs to follow, here are DEQ's rules for Maintenance Area New Source Review and the Prevention of Significant Deterioration.​

The Cleaner Air Oregon program does health-based risk assessments for facilities with air quality permits. When it started, Cleaner Air Oregon prioritized existing facilities, like Intel, into groups based on level of risk and all new facilities must go through a Cleaner Air Oregon assessment before they can get a permit.  

Based on DEQ's initial analysis under Cleaner Air Oregon, Intel is in the second group of existing facilities that will be “called in" for Cleaner Air Oregon analysis.​​

Intel is using a legal mechanism called “Receipts Authority" to pay DEQ directly through a formal fee agreement to process its permit. This provides dedicated resources, mainly staff, to conduct the work – three DEQ retirees have returned to and are employed by DEQ to work on this permit and the public process. The fee agreement does not change DEQ's internal or external processes for evaluating the permit and sharing it with the public. Additionally, it allows DEQ to continue its work processing other permits.​


Contact

Nina DeConcini
Project Manager