The effect of numerous plasma reative ion etch and physical milling processes on the electrical behavior of GaAs bulk substrates has been investigated by means of electric microwave absorption. It was seen that plasma treatments at quite low energies may significantly affect the electrical quality of the etched semiconductor. Predominantly physical plasma etchants (Ar) were seen to create significant damage at very low energies. Chemical processes (involving Cl or F), while somewhat less pernicious, also gave rise to electrical substrate damage, the effect greater for hydrogenic ambients. Whereas rapid thermal anneal treatments tend to worsen the electrical integrity, some substrates respond positively to long-time high temperature anneal steps.