Foxconn investing in ‘zero liquid discharge’ recycling system, reducing need for Lake Michigan water

MILWAUKEE — Foxconn Technology Group says it's investing in a $30 million recycling system that will significantly reduce the amount of water drawn from Lake Michigan for its planned manufacturing complex in southeast Wisconsin.

Louis Woo

The Taiwan-based company is not required to do it, but will use a more environmentally-friendly system called "zero liquid discharge."

Foxconn Executive Louis Woo told FOX6 News it is important to Foxconn that Wisconsin stays as pristine as possible.

"The scenery, the living environment -- that could be very attractive, especially to the young generation of talents we may have lost to the West Coast because of Silicon Valley, or the East Coast because of the financial district," Woo said.

Foxconn construction

Foxconn's new system will take 2.5 million gallons of water per day, then recycle it within its own plant and keep reusing it. That, despite the fact the company has permits to take nearly seven millions gallons of water per day. The contaminated water would not go to the waste water treatment facility.

Woo said Foxconn will put in the investment to use less water for the factory, with no discharge into the county system. 

"We always believe you don't go into a place to be a family member and ruin somebody's kitchen," said Woo.

Woo said Foxconn will be improving on a "zero liquid discharge" system already in use in a Sakai, Japan plant, and bringing it to Wisconsin. The system does use a lot of energy. Woo said Foxconn will look into solar and other renewable energy.

Woo said Foxconn has a code of conduct.

"We certainly like to be a good neighbor. We are here to stay, a long-term player for that community, so there is no reason we should not take it as our responsibility that things should stay as they are or even better after we move in," said Woo.

Foxconn development