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Foxconn says they will limit how much water will be used at Mount Pleasant plant

RACINE COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- According to a somewhat unexpected press release,  Foxconn will pay $30 million to bring the system to Mount Pleasant with the main benefit to Lake Michigan, they say, is that they virtually won't need to return any "manufacturing process wastewater" back to the body of water.

How is it that Foxconn dropped their expectations for Lake Michigan water use from 6 million gallons a day to 2 and a 1/2 million gallons a day?

The answer, according to the company, is the zero liquid discharge system which eliminates manufacturing process wastewater by distilling it and letting the company reuse the water again.

Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave says he only got the news today.

"This was a discussion that was kind of talked about from the get-go. But it was always what is the reality? How can this work? It was more of a concept," said Delagrave.

"They heard this concern that the public was raising about water use and cleanliness of whatever they're going to use in their process so for them to make this investment today says something about those concerns," said Racine Mayor Cory Mason.

Mayor Cory Mason says the City of Racine Water Utility does not expect a change to the water division plan approved by the DNR but that plan is currently being challenged by a number of groups represented by Midwest Environmental Advocates.

Their statement on the announcement reads,"While we view Foxconn's announcement positively, it doesn't change the fact that Wisconsin DNR's standing decision to approve a diversion to Foxconn - whether 7 million gallons per day or half that - violates a key safeguard of the Great Lakes Compact, which requires diversions be limited to public, largely residential uses."

"We're monitoring it but we believe that with a lawsuit or without the lawsuit, it's all systems go for the project. And I think this, again, is just one more thing we can all be proud of. And it just shows that Foxconn wants to be a willing partner in our community."

According to a press release, Foxconn already uses the ZLD system at a facility in Japan. The Mount Pleasant facility is scheduled for groundbreaking on June 28.

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