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MALTA -- A study of a secondary water source for GlobalFoundries' computer chip factory in Malta has been completed, but it remains unclear what option will be chosen or if it will be ready in time for the company's anticipated startup date.

The study, prepared by Clough Harbour & Associates and released by the Empire State Development Corp. earlier this month, identified 14 potential water supplies that could serve as a backup to the new Saratoga County water line.

Such a backup is being sought by GlobalFoundries so there would be no interruptions to computer chip production at the new factory in Malta if the new $67 million county waterline were ever to fail.

A backup water source was expected to be finished before production begins in late 2012 and has been a prominent feature in the debate over how prepared the site is for the company.

GlobalFoundries expects to use up to 5.4 million gallons of water a day when production begins at the Luther Forest Technology Campus, and more could be required if a second or third factory were ever built.

Five of the options studied by Clough Harbour & Associates were municipal water services that were deemed unlikely to work because of insufficient supply or poor water quality. Nine other options were said to require additional study.

The construction of new waterlines from Saratoga Lake, the Hudson River or the Mohawk River were among the options the study suggests could serve as viable backups.

Contracting with two private water companies that tap underwater aquifers in the area and the construction of a new water storage tank near the factory are also possibilities that deserve further investigation, the study states.

Costs for each of the alternatives was redacted in the report, which was provided by the state following a freedom of information request. Expense is likely to play a role in the decision. The state, by contract, is to fund the project.

The costs were redacted because they could "impair present or imminent contract awards or collective bargaining negotiations," according to a letter from the Empire State Development Corp.

The Luther Forest Technology Campus Economic Development Corp. has facilitated other infrastructure at the site, but the state is taking the lead on the secondary water supply issue, officials said.

"We're happy to help, but we're really not involved in this," said Michael Relyea, Luther Forest's executive director.

Jola Szubielski, a spokeswoman for Empire State Development, said state officials are reviewing the study with GlobalFoundries, and no determinations had been made.

Officials with GlobalFoundries were not immediately available to comment on the issue Tuesday.

The lack of a secondary water supply was cited as one of the reasons state officials moved last year to seize control of the technology park.

Officials have since said the state is working with Saratoga County officials and the Luther Forest non-profit organization to determine what structure should be in place for the park.

Relyea said Tuesday that those discussions continue.


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