Water Gremlin failed to prevent hazardous waste contamination

Contact: Darin Broton, 651-757-2278

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency last night issued a new administrative order to Water Gremlin requiring the company to make changes to the way it manages hazardous waste at its White Bear Township facility. The new requirements were ordered after an MPCA investigation determined that Water Gremlin failed to comply with hazardous waste regulations that minimize the possibility of a release of hazardous waste at its White Bear Township facility.

On Oct. 11, 2019, the MPCA issued an alleged violations letter to Water Gremlin identifying violations discovered from three inspections in September 2019.  The agency found leaks of hazardous waste containing lead and TCE on the facility’s floor, walls and equipment. In addition, cracks in the facility’s floor provided pathways for lead and TCE-contaminated materials to leak under the building into the subsoils.  The MPCA’s investigation also found that Water Gremlin failed to stop releases of used oil to the environment. The company’s filtration equipment that removes soot and ash from exhaust fumes was releasing lead-contaminated used oil onto Water Gremlin’s pavement. 

The MPCA’s administrative order laid out more than 20 specific requirements that Water Gremlin must complete to become fully compliant for its hazardous waste violations. Those requirements include cleaning up solid TCE- and lead-containing hazardous waste from its facility operation areas, and managing its hazardous waste streams by properly storing and labeling waste, working with law enforcement and emergency response teams to coordinate services in the event of a hazardous waste emergency and fixing its filtration equipment to prevent future contamination. Water Gremlin has already completed seven of the required actions. The full list of requirements is listed in the MPCA’s administrative order.

On Aug. 22, 2019, the MPCA issued an administrative order prohibiting Water Gremlin from operating its solvent-coating operations after an investigation found TCE, tDCE and lead in the air, ground and surface water on the property. That administrative order remains in effect.