The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) activated air monitors at Birch Lake Elementary School Aug. 13. On Friday, Sept. 20, the agency reported the first results.

On Aug. 13 and Aug. 19, monitors detected low levels of t-DCE (0.8 micrograms per cubic meter and 16 micrograms per cubic meter, respectively). According to the agency, these levels are well below the health benchmark and are consistent with what is expected in an area where industrial activity is occurring.

Darin Broton, director of communications, said the MPCA is collecting outdoor air samples every six days and will continue to do so for the next few months (or longer, if unexpected results are found). This type of sampling requires a 14-day processing period plus several days for review, so the agency just recently received the first round of results, he said.

Initially, MPCA planned to leave these monitors in place for 90 days. Since Water Gremlin is not currently operating its coating lines, that period will be extended. “If the company resumes full operation, this will give us more information about whether Water Gremlin’s activity is impacting air quality in the broader community,” added Broton.

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