Data Centers and the QLoop
What's a Data Center?
A "data center" is a physical facility that stores data and applications on a large scale. It consists of a network of computing and storage resources that enable the provision of data and applications. For example, when you save documents, photos and videos from your computer or phone to “the cloud,” you’re saving to data centers. Key components of data centers include routers, switches, firewalls, storage systems, servers, and application-delivery controllers. A data center generally includes redundant or backup components and infrastructure for power supply, data communication connections, environmental controls (e.g., air conditioning, fire suppression), and various security devices.
Generally, data centers do not employ or require many staff. A large data center is an industrial-scale operation using as much electricity and water as a small town. Community concerns include water supply and quality, electric power supply and infrastructure, air pollution from emergency generators, lighting pollution, and noise pollution.
What's a Brownfield Site?
A "brownfield site" is land that was previously used for industrial purposes and may be contaminated by hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants which may have affected surrounding sites as well. Brownfield sites can be redeveloped or reused for housing or other purposes but may face environmental or legal challenges. Brownfield sites are different from superfund sites, which are more severely contaminated and may receive federal funds for cleanup.
The 2,100 acre Quantum Loophole property includes brownfield area, which was the former location of the Eastalco aluminum smelting plant. When Alcoa decommissioned the plant there remained groundwater and soil contamination, both of which posed potential ongoing environmental risks. To address these concerns Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and Alcoa agreed to an Environmental Covenant (EC) for the property, which is binding on all future owners of the property or subdivision. The EC permanently restricts certain activities on the site and spells out specific procedures to protect workers and the public from exposure during future construction activities.
What is the "QLoop"?
The QLoop network is a 43-mile fiber ring currently under construction. It is designed to connect Quantum Loophole’s 2,100+ acre Quantum Frederick County MD data center development with Northern Virginia’s Data Center Alley in Ashburn. The Frederick County data center development and the QLoop are the company’s first projects.
What is the concern about drilling in floodplain areas?
A floodplain is a generally flat area of land next to a river or stream. It stretches from the banks of the river to the outer edges of the valley. Quantum Loophole’s QLoop project is making extensive use of a highly risky process called Horizontal Directional Drilling, to cross wetlands, floodplains, streams, and rivers. Multiple “frack outs,” where QLoop drilling fluid was released into streams and rivers, have been documented.