Wisconsin Foxconn Technology Group development project
On Oct. 4, 2017, Foxconn announced it will be locating its first U.S. manufacturing facility in the village of Mount Pleasant in Racine County. The Foxconn Technology Group (Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.. Ltd.) is a multinational electronics manufacturing company headquartered in Taiwan. The company is the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer and the fourth-largest information technology company.
As required by law, prior to construction and operation of the new facility, Foxconn must work with the state on receiving the appropriate permits and follow state and federal standards, including but not limited to applicable air and water quality and solid and hazardous waste regulations. Also, Foxconn is subject to federal wetland permitting requirements and must properly mitigate any impact on wetlands.
The DNR will be working with Foxconn, local government officials and other state and federal agencies to ensure all applicable permit requirements are met, including consideration of any environmental impacts associated with any permits or approvals.
Wisconsin Act 58
In September 2017, the State Legislature passed 2017 Wisconsin Act 58, authorizing the state to create an Electronics and Information Technology Manufacturing (EITM) Zone, within which Foxconn will be operating. The act also directed the DNR to "ensure that the conditions of applicable permits, licenses, and approvals under the department's jurisdiction are met for all activities related to the construction, access, or operation of a new manufacturing facility within an electronics and information technology manufacturing zone designated under section 238.396 (1m) of the statutes, including but not limited to permits, licenses, and approvals required under [chapters 23 through 299] of the statutes and any associated rules promulgated by the Department of Natural Resources."
Project site maps
- Map of the Electronics and Information Technology Manufacturing (EITM) Zone — For more information, see s. 238.396, Wis. Stats.
- EITM Zone Designation, Exhibit D from the Electronics and Information Technology Manufacturing Zone Tax Credit Agreement between the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and SIO International Wisconsin Inc., FEWI Development Corp., and AFE Inc.
- Site project areas — The first phases of the Foxconn project are proposed primarily in the eastern two-thirds of Area 1 in this map.
All project activities must comply with state and federal air standards. The DNR's Air Program is responsible for issuing air pollution control permits to manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin.
The DNR has received the following permit applications for projects associated with the Foxconn facility.
- Foxconn Industrial Internet (Fii) Data Center — Permit Number 25229435A-ROPA
On December 9, 2020, the DNR granted coverage under the Type A Registration Permit to Fii Data Center. The facility will consist of a data center (The Globe) and a modular data center (FoxMOD). The building housing The Globe data center operations will be heated via geothermal system and will have a 727,500 Btu/hr natural gas fired boiler for building heat as a back-up to the geothermal system. One diesel fired generator (size yet to be determined) will also be installed for The Globe. In addition, one 750-kW diesel fired generator will be installed for the modular data center operations, FoxMOD. View application and approval documents.
- Fii Smart Manufacturing Center (Fii) — Permit Number 252291490-ROPA
On Nov. 20, 2019, the DNR granted coverage under the Type A Registration Permit to Fii Smart Manufacturing Center (Fii). Fii is proposing to construct and operate a 220,000-square-foot facility, which will include two separate primary operations know as Level 5 Operations and Level 6 Operations. Level 5 Operations consist of punch press stamping operations, using oils and lubricants, for the manufacture of component, device enclosures and cases. Level 6 Operations consist of the assembly of premade printed circuit boards. The assembly process includes electronic component mounting, wave soldering, and repair and cleaning activities. In addition, the facility will operate a 12.4 MMBtu/hr natural gas fired boiler and will have a 250-kw natural gas fired emergency generator on-site. View application and approval documents.
- AFE Inc. — Training Facility — Permit Number 252284340-ROPA
On Oct. 20, 2017, the DNR granted coverage under the Type A Registration Permit to AFE Inc., a training facility for future Foxconn employees. View application and approval documents.
- SIO International Wisconsin — Concrete Batch Plant — Permit Number 252286100-ROPB
On April 10, 2018, the DNR granted coverage under the Type B Registration Permit for a concrete batch plant. The facility will consist of two processing plants, a precast plant and a cast in place (CIP) plant. Aggregate material such as sand, gravel, admixtures and cement will be hauled to the batch plant by truck. This facility may provide concrete roadways, foundations and building structures for the construction of the Foxconn campus. View application and related documents.
Note: A registration permit is a type of air permit that is issued to cover a category of facilities rather than to an individual facility. The Type A Registration permit covers the category of facilities defined as having air emissions that are less than 25% of the major source thresholds, which equals 25 tons per year for the criteria air pollutants. The Registration Permit sets facility-wide emission caps, requires covered facilities to comply with all applicable air pollution regulations and lists out monitoring, record keeping and reporting requirements.
Foxconn campus permits
The following information applies to four applications that are all considered part of the same project at a single facility (referred to as the Foxconn campus).
Public hearing and comments
On April 24, 2018, the DNR issued its final decision to issue the four air pollution control permits for the Foxconn main campus facilities.
A public hearing was held on April 3, 2018, in Sturtevant. Department staff held an open house and informal question and answer session prior to the hearing.
- AFE Inc/SIO International — Flat Panel Display Fabrication Facility — Permit Number 18-JJW-036
On March 2, 2018, the DNR received an application for construction of the Fabrication Plant, including the main flat panel display fabrication facility and ancillary operations. The DNR issued the construction permit on April 24, 2018. The Fabrication Plant will manufacture thin-film-transistor liquid crystal displays (TFT-LCD). The department's approval includes ancillary operations associated with the Fabrication Plant including: the purified water plant; wastewater treatment plant; liquid chemical receiving, storage and dispensing; and gas receiving, storage and dispensing areas. View application and final documents.
- AFE Inc/SIO International — Nitrogen Plant — Permit Number 18-JJW-022
On Feb. 2, 2018, the DNR received an application for construction of a Nitrogen Generation Plant. The DNR issued the construction permit on April 24, 2018. The Nitrogen Plant will be an air separation unit that produces gaseous and liquid nitrogen as well as gaseous and liquid oxygen and liquid argon. The gaseous and liquid products will be produced through cryogenic distillation and refrigeration of air that has been compressed and purified via an adsorption system. Pipelines will supply the products to various parts of the Campus. View application and final documents.
- AFE Inc./SIO International — Energy Facility — Permit Number 18-JJW-017
On Jan. 26, 2018, the DNR received an application for construction of an Energy Facility. The DNR issued the construction permit on April 24, 2018. The Energy Facility will include the Phase 1 energy plant, Phase 2 energy plant and power substation. The Energy Facility will provide heating, cooling and process steam to the Fabrication Plant. The power substation will house emergency generators, which will provide backup power during power outages. View application and final documents.
- AFE Inc. — Liquid Crystal Module (LCM) Assembly Plant — Permit Number 17-JJW-207
On Dec. 22, 2017, the DNR received an application for AFE Inc-Liquid Crystal Module (LCM) Assembly Plant. The DNR issued the construction permit on April 24, 2018. View application and final documents.
- AFE Inc./SIO International — Multipurpose Facility — Permit Number 18-JJW-117
On Aug. 28, 2018, the DNR received an application for construction of a multipurpose building. A public hearing was held on Sept. 25, 2018. The DNR issued the construction permit on Oct. 11, 2018. The multipurpose building will consist of 10 small natural gas-fired heating units, 44 natural gas-fired air curtain heating units, three 250-kw natural gas-fired emergency generators and the use of solvents to repair and clean electronic tool components. View application and final documents.
All project activities must comply with state and federal storm water and floodplain standards.
Construction site permits
The construction site permit requires landowners to install practices to help decrease the amount of sediment that pollutes Wisconsin's waterways from construction projects. Erosion control practices help decrease the amount of sediment that runs off during a storm event.
On April 2, 2018, Foxconn submitted a construction site storm water permit application for coverage under Storm Water Runoff General Permit No. WI-S067831-5. Coverage under the permit is limited to three years, but can be renewed. On April 23, 2018, the DNR issued a letter granting coverage under Construction Site Storm Water Runoff General Permit No. WI-S067831-5 to Foxconn, following the company's application. The permit review included ensuring compliance with regulations applicable to potential impacts to endangered/threatened species, historical/archaeological sites and wetlands. Foxconn developed construction site erosion control and post-construction storm water management plans describing the best management practices it would employ for on-site storm water control.
Industrial storm water permits
To further protect the quality of surface waters, wetlands and groundwater, after constructing elements of its manufacturing campus (the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park) and prior to beginning operations, Foxconn must obtain industrial storm water permit coverage.
On April 3, 2018, Foxconn submitted a notice of intent for coverage under an Industrial Storm Water Discharge General Permit. The DNR will review and act on Foxconn's application prior to the start of industrial operations.
The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC) released a report on April 10, 2019, addressing storm water quantity management in the Pike River watershed portion of the EITM zone. The report concludes that the village of Mount Pleasant storm water ordinance is sufficient to address increased runoff rates and volumes from development of that portion of the EITM zone with no anticipated increase in downstream flood flows.
- SEWRPC Staff Memorandum re: Evaluation of Proposed Stormwater Quantity Management for the Pike River Watershed Portion of the Proposed Foxconn Development in the Village of Mount Pleasant — April 10, 2019
SEWRPC released a report on June 11, 2018, addressing storm water quantity management in the Des Plaines River watershed portion of the EITM zone. The report concludes that the village of Mount Pleasant storm water ordinance is sufficient to address increased runoff rates and volumes from development of that portion of the EITM zone with no anticipated increase in downstream flood flows.
- SEWRPC Evaluation of Proposed Stormwater Quantity Management for the Des Plaines River Watershed Portion of the Proposed Foxconn Development in the Village of Mount Pleasant — June 11, 2018
The city of Racine and Racine Water Utility submitted a straddling community diversion application to the department. Diversions of Great Lakes water are regulated under the Great Lakes Compact. The proposed diversion area includes the portion of the village of Mount Pleasant that is in the Mississippi River basin — including the area identified by Racine County as the future site of the Foxconn facility.
On April 25, 2018, the DNR approved the city's request, and on May 25, 2018, a group of petitioners challenged the DNR's approval.
The application, the status of the challenge to the approval and related materials are available on the Racine diversion page.
Foxconn has indicated that it intends to discharge wastewater to the city of Racine's wastewater treatment plant. Therefore, the city, as an authorized pretreatment authority, will be the control authority. The state will provide oversight through audits, inspections and review of reports.
Federal and state law requires large municipal wastewater plants, such as Racine's, to regulate their local contributing industries. The Racine wastewater treatment plant is in turn regulated by the DNR's pretreatment program through a WPDES permit. The DNR's pretreatment program protects discharges to Wisconsin waters via publicly owned treatment works (POTWs).
To date, Racine Water and Wastewater Utility (RWWU) received one official application for Phase 0 of the Foxconn project on Aug. 6, 2019, which entails discharge of approximately 20,000 gallons per day of sanitary/domestic wastewater, reverse osmosis concentrate/reject from treatment of city water and blowdown/condensate from make-up air units (MAU) and air handling units (AHUs) from office and assembly buildings to the sanitary sewer connected to the Racine POTW. After consultation with DNR staff, RWWU determined that the discharges are not subject to industrial pretreatment standards and, therefore, do not require permit coverage. Discharges from future phases of production may require permit coverage until the Zero Liquid Discharge system is completed.
Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) proposal
On June 19, 2018, Foxconn announced that it will implement Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) wastewater treatment technology at its manufacturing facility in Mount Pleasant. This wastewater treatment technology recycles almost all water from a facility and would, therefore, further decrease Foxconn's water use demand and eliminate the return of any manufacturing process wastewater to Lake Michigan. When the ZLD system is in operation, the only Foxconn-related wastewater return flow to Lake Michigan would be domestic wastewater from its commercial operations, which will be treated at Racine's wastewater treatment facility to meet state and federal standards.
The DNR will review Foxconn's ZLD proposal to ensure compliance with all environmental permitting standards.
Under 2017 Wisconsin Act 58, manufacturing projects in the project area are exempt from Wisconsin state wetland permits, and project proponents must mitigate all wetland impacts at a 2:1 ratio. This means that Foxconn must replace 2 acres of wetland for each wetland acre adversely impacted.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) regulates the discharge of dredged or fill material into certain wetlands in the state. Discharges of dredged or fill material into federal wetlands would require a federal permit.
- ACOE jurisdictional determinations for portions of EITM zone areas I and II
- ACOE jurisdictional determination for portions of EITM zone area III
On April 16, 2018, Foxconn submitted its first Wetland Compensatory In-Lieu Fee proposal package to the DNR.
A total of 16.64 wetland acres were delineated on the project site for Phase 1 of the Foxconn development in the eastern portion of Section 31 and all of Section 32, T3N R22E in the village of Mount Pleasant in Racine County. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) did not assert federal jurisdiction over any of those 16.64 wetland acres.
Under Wis. Stat. §281.36 (4m), impacts to wetlands in an Electronics and Information Technology Manufacturing Zone (EITM) are exempt from state wetland permitting requirements, but must be mitigated at a 2 to 1 ratio. Foxconn has chosen to mitigate wetland impacts for the first phase of its development through the department's in-lieu fee program (Wisconsin Wetland Conservation Trust).
Foxconn paid the department $2,037,020 to fulfill its mitigation obligation for the 16.64 delineated acres. On April 25, 2018, the department issued a letter confirming that this project is eligible for the EITM zone exemption and acknowledging receipt of the in-lieu fee funds to mitigate impacts to the 16.64 acres on the project site.
On Sept. 27, 2018, Foxconn submitted a second wetland compensatory ILF purchase proposal to the department for wetlands delineated on parcels 409 and 413 on Prairie View Drive in the southeast portion of Area 1 — an area to which the company previously lacked access. Foxconn supplemented its Sept. 27 submittal with a letter from the ACOE confirming that the wetlands on parcels 409 and 413 are not subject to ACOE jurisdiction. Foxconn paid $31,000 to fulfill this mitigation obligation for the 0.25 of wetland acreage delineated on parcels 409 and 413. On Oct. 11, 2018, the department issued a letter confirming that the wetlands on parcels 409 and 413 are eligible for the EITM zone exemption.
Most recently, in the summer of 2019, Foxconn submitted additional wetland compensatory ILF purchase proposals on June 4 and July 22. These submittals were to request mitigation for additional wetlands delineated in Sections 31 and 32 of T3N R22E (as detailed in maps and tables in the two above proposals). Foxconn paid $94,558 to mitigate for the 0.67 acres of wetlands delineated as part of the June 4 proposal and $7,090 to mitigate for the 0.05 acres of wetlands delineated as part of the July 22 proposal. The ACOE issued letters on May 13, 2019, and July 19, 2019, confirming that delineated wetlands in the two proposals are not subject to ACOE jurisdiction. On Aug. 2, 2019, the department issued a letter confirming that these wetlands are eligible for the EITM zone exemption.