back to article Intel stinks

Who let the ass out? That's the question numerous residents in Chandler, Arizona are asking ever since a rotten egg type odor started haunting their homes. As it turns out, the stench comes from organic material collected in city-owned and, yes, Intel-built evaporation ponds. That's a big thanks then to Chipzilla for giving …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wait a minute, stop making Intel out to be the bad guys

    You know, I don't usually find myself sticking up for large corporations, but the last sentence in the article sums it up.

    "Chandler residents say Intel's fix can't arrive soon enough, and many of them complain that they weren't properly warned about the true nature of Intel's waste puddles."

    So now it's supposed to be Intel's fault when builders/realtors don't properly disclose these facts to prospective buyers? I don't think so.

    Intel has been manufacturing there for years. Chandler is lucky to have them and Motorola providing a pretty good number of decent jobs.

    Had Intel moved in after the homeowners and caused this problem, it would be a different story, but they didn't.

    I'm at a loss as to why Chandler (or the state?) didn't kick in the dollars to build a buffer zone around that area. One would think they had to know about the odors, especially if they're THAT bad. The same thing is being done in an attempt to protect the Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, though obviously for different reasons.

    That they're builiding a system to deal with the odors speaks louder to the type of people they are versus those who may have sold these homes without the proper disclosures.

  2. Gareth

    Builders at fault

    So Intel's had these stagnant cess pools in a remote area for 14 years, minding their own business, and some developer decided to erect some houses and sell them as "lakefront view" units?

    Sounds like fault lies with the builder, rather than Intel.

  3. kain preacher

    You knew

    You knew the damn ponds were there when you bought the house. Get use to the smell

  4. Joey Y

    Intel chipping in

    I agree with the AC above.

    If someone builds a house next to the airport, they have little right to complain about airplanes flying overhead.

    City-sprawl that puts houses next to a stink-pit is not Intel's fault. In fact, +1 to Intel for taking the initiative to fix the problem and be a good neighbor. (The Reg/Ms Vance might have been being sincere in their praise of Intel. I am just too used to statements like "Excellent corporate citizen that it is, Intel..." being sarcastic.)

  5. heystoopid

    What a bunch of wallflowers

    What a bunch of wallflowers , for they haven't lived in either Jersey City , near a certain river that catches fire on a regular basis from the raw untreated industrial effluent which is routinely dumped into it or within twenty miles of the world's largest piggery in North Carolina ! This is where the stench is so incredibly bad that even when flying over the place at 5000 feet you can still smell it for they routinely over spray fields with raw untreated pig sewage (this particular corporate entity farms in the region generate the same volume of effluent as per large cities like New York but they have used commercial bribery to blackmail the local government to the point where the spend nothing to clean up their mess and when the heavy seasonal rains literally blow in from down Florida way on winds with a name and wash it all down stream into some one else's back yard ! ) .

    Tom Lehrer said it all in his song of the sixties "Pollution"

    If you visit american city,

    You will find it very pretty.

    Just two things of which you must beware:

    Dont drink the water and dont breathe the air.

    Pollution, pollution,

    They got smog and sewage and mud.

    Turn on your tap and get hot and cold running crud.

    As they say , green zones are a wonderful idea , but as always the the dumb , the lazy , the thick , the stupid and the ultra cheap morons are always attracted to the cheap urban land developments that spring up around all modern industrial technology skunk works as developers eye the green lands they buy for a cent in the dollar , spend five cents then on sell the package for 1000% profit plus to sell onto the next stupid willing victim that walk through their doors like lambs to the slaughter !

    "Idiocracy" has arrived , Arrrgh !

  6. Kevin Fields

    Always love these stories

    No different than when rural farms are now put on the defensive because decades old operations are now offending all the new people who have moved in and put up houses expecting to live the country lifestyle, but not willing to put up with the downsides of country lifestyle... like animal manure.

  7. anarchic-teapot

    @Kevin Fields

    Industrial waste pollution is part of the country lifestyle? New one on me.

    A big hello to all the ACs sticking up for Intel and remember, the secret is to keep banging the rocks together guys. For crying out loud, it's still pollution even if you start doing it miles away from a city centre (and let's just forget for the moment that cities were rapidly expanding even 15 years ago). While the builders may have been economical with the truth, it doesn't justify some big industrial plant merrily releasing methane (greenhouse gas) and hydrogen sulphide (poisonous) into the atmosphere.

  8. Steven Raith

    AS per everyone else...

    This is like the stupid little pricks who have moved in to little villages near Donnington Park race circuit, and who complain about the noise from the race days - and even the public track days that are limited to 95dB.

    Perhaps you should have checked that out before buying your house?

    Steven R

    [I'll leave out the fact that they don't complain about being next door to an international airport - because race circuits don't provide them easy access to the seedier parts of Europe, obviously...]

  9. Peter Ramins

    For shame Intel

    And Motorola, providing the industrial economic foundation that created the jobs that pay for whatever services these malcontents work at that allowed them to buy new homes.

    Pull up stakes and move somewhere else. How about near me? I'd love to work for Intel. =)

  10. Chuck Chandler

    A little quick

    a-t needs to read the story again. The water is purified then used by birds as a toilet.

  11. DrewHew

    @ anarchic-teapot

    Thanks Chuck, you beat me to the punch.

    A-T sounds like one of the snobbish types that thinks everyone should jump to make sure things are to his/her liking! Even when they come along Johnny-come-lately style and see things already in place.

    The article clearly states that the water is treated/purified by Intel before arriving in the pond. It's the waste from the birds and other surrounding animal life that has helped to make it a concentrated cesspool.

    And yet Intel has again opted to add another level of treatment (aeration).

    I actually hate Intel products, I'll buy AMD until they go belly-up (as my new quad-core black edition will attest), but they've gone above and beyond in this case, and deserve full credit for their efforts!

  12. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Talking of stinks ..... as we were.

    Here is an interesting read about a stink with a stinking a**hole representative in need of a bubble bursting bath? ........

  13. Michael Corkery


    I really think you missed the point. Intel pay to purify their waste water, and they paid to build catchment areas, not dump it into the water table. but avian waste, which is beyond their control, makes the stink.

    People who bought houses near it should have investigated urban sprawl into an industrial area before buying, and Intel, to their credit, are going to pay more again to resolve the issue.

    I'm not an Intel fan-boy, nor do I have any links to them, but in this case I have to say I'd respect a company that is spending money to look after the local populace when Intel aren't directly responsible and are under no obligation to do so.

    Is Intel (a company) a singular or plural noun? Is/are?

  14. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    Who were the realtors? Intel?

    Reminds me of the story some years ago of the country cottage owner no longer permitted to keep chickens because the incumers didn't take to country life as is.

    Or was.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bit more info

    This old Wired article mentions they use the purified water for cleaning the silicon wafers in the fabs, and that salty sludge water is pumped into the evaporation ponds..

    Interesting article.

  16. skeptical i

    fly-by-night developers

    Arizona has a long and proud history of bending over for developers, speculators, and anyone else connected with the real estate industry ("Growth is good and should be enabled at all costs and damn the torpedoes"), so it's no surprise that between the developers, builders, and real estate agents, the proximity of homes to the Intel Laken was ignored (or deliberately played down in whatever disclosure is required of the seller); by the time the end-users (i.e., homebuyers) notice a problem, their money is being circulated in the Bahamas. (Kudos to Intel for having the good sense to recycle its discharge water by creating a wetlands-ish area, but certainly hydrologists in the area should know that standing water needs to be aerated lest it grow nasties.)

  17. Big Al

    Say what?

    "The malodorous ponds in question hold purified waste water..."

    By definition, purified waste should not smell.

    So either these are not holding the end product, but an intermediate stage... or it just needs moving around a bit to prevent it becoming stagnant.... or the rest of the article is correct, and the problem is not the product, but what happens after the local wildlife gets into it.

  18. Phil Arundell

    Intel not at fault

    When he purchased his house next to Intel's ponds four years ago, Lenn Zazula thought that was a good thing.

    "The ponds were an attraction and nobody could build behind us," he said.

    He didn't anticipate pungent summer odors that permeate his house or the periodic swarms of midge flies.

    The above is from the original article, and there are other similar quotes in it. So, people saw the water, thought it would be nice to live next door to it and then decided it wasn't. Tough - deal with it!

  19. David Pollard

    'The ponds hold ... purified waste water'?

    The ponds are actually used to evaporate the waste from a water purification system, not the purified water, and are said to contain heavy metals (presumably together with other nasties).

    In Silicon Valley there are apparently long-standing problems with contamination of the aquifer from chlorinated solvents and suchlike process chemicals. Given the historically poor reputation of the electronics industry for waste management, it's not surprising that residents are concerned.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    have you people never experienced big companies? A company that size wouldnt blindly take over a property that has been built, it is purposely built and Intel and the builders would have worked together. Intel cant walk away from this completely.

  21. Robert Grant

    Intel's Insides


  22. Mark

    @David Pollard

    Heavy metals don't tend to smell. They can be toxic, which is why you tend not to dump them in the water table.

    Standing water, however, along with the extreme over-fertilisation, makes a lovely place for ordinary organic life (which quite often DOES smell) to move in.

    If this had been a problem, then the council should have called them up on it 14 years ago.

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