Water Gremlin: trichloroethylene (TCE) area of concern

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) have completed an investigation into community exposures to an industrial solvent called trichloroethylene (TCE) used by Water Gremlin, a manufacturer in White Bear Township. The investigation showed the company had been emitting significantly more TCE than allowed by its permit. As a result, neighborhoods near the facility were exposed to TCE levels above health benchmarks.

Water Gremlin has agreed to pay a major penalty for violations of its air quality permit. Combined, the total value of the settlement will be more than $7 million. The company will pay a civil penalty of $4.5 million, take corrective actions at their site, conduct air monitoring for several years valued at roughly $1 million, and conduct two supplemental environmental projects valued at least $1.5 million.

New information will be posted to this page as it becomes available. 

To speak with staff at MDH or MPCA about Water Gremlin

Public informational meetings were held in the community on Feb. 27 and March 7, 2019.

Background

Water Gremlin, Inc. at 4400 Otter Lake Road in White Bear Township, makes fishing sinkers and battery terminal posts. The company used TCE to finish metal parts. In January 2019, the MPCA learned that the facility was releasing much more TCE into the air than allowed by its air quality permit. The MPCA requested the company to shut down the TCE production line on January 14, 2019, which they did. Meanwhile the MPCA began the investigation that resulted in the penalty agreement. Computer modeling during the investigation showed that areas up to 1.5 miles from the facility were exposed to TCE levels above health benchmarks developed by the MDH.

Press release: White Bear company to pay major penalty for release of hazardous air pollutant

PDF icon Water Gremlin Stipulation Agreement (aq-ei6-01b)

Map of area of concern

Map of White Bear Lake showing Water Gremlin facility at Otter Lake Rd and Whitaker St. The concern area extend approximately a mile in every direction from the facility.