The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) announced July 12 it has denied granting Water Gremlin an extension to test its pollution control equipment. As a result, Water Gremlin is subject to a $500 per day fine until it has completed its testing.
“Water Gremlin has had more than enough time to get its pollution control equipment fully operational and tested,” said MPCA Commissioner Laura Bishop. “Water Gremlin promised in its agreement with the MPCA that its pollution control equipment would be operational and tested within 30 days after installation. Almost 75 days later, the MPCA and the residents of White Bear Lake and Gem Lake are still waiting.”
In January 2019, the MPCA and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) investigated community exposures to an industrial solvent called trichloroethylene (TCE) used by Water Gremlin, a manufacturer in White Bear Township. The MPCA’s investigation showed that Water Gremlin failed to report accurate emission data for more than 15 years. In addition, Water Gremlin exceeded permitted TCE limits and exposed the surrounding neighborhoods to TCE levels above MDH’s health benchmark of 2 micrograms per cubic meter of air.
In the March 1, 2019 stipulation agreement, Water Gremlin agreed to complete required testing within 30 days of starting up its pollution control equipment. That equipment started operating on May 1, 2019, therefore the test was due by May 31, 2019. On May 20, 2019, Water Gremlin requested an extension to that deadline, and the MPCA granted the extension. On June 19, 2019, Water Gremlin again requested an extension to the testing deadline, and the MPCA granted the extension. The third request in early July was denied.