Water Gremlin Permitted to Resume Operations After Pollution Investigation
Water Gremlin's facility. (Photo courtesy of Water Gremlin)

Water Gremlin Permitted to Resume Operations After Pollution Investigation

After state regulators forced Water Gremlin to shut down over lead pollution concerns, the company has met necessary requirements to return to business.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) on Friday issued an order allowing White Bear manufacturer Water Gremlin to resume operations.

Water Gremlin—which specializes in sinkers and battery terminals—will resume work gradually, so long as it addresses the MPCA’s pollution concerns.

“Water Gremlin has and will cooperate and diligently work with the MPCA to address every concern raised,” said Gremlin vice president Carl Dubois, in a statement. “We are committed to being a good community member and providing a safe environment for everyone.”

The state first launched an investigation in January 2019 due to community exposure to an industrial solvent called trichloroethylene (TCE). During the investigation, MPCA found that Water Gremlin had failed to accurately report TCE emission data for more than 15 years, and that it had emitted TCE at levels above the permitted health benchmark.

In March 2019, Water Gremlin agreed to a settlement with MPCA for the violations. But upon further investigation afterward, MPCA continued to find excessive levels of TCE on Water Gremlin property. Based on these findings, the MPCA ordered Water Gremlin to stop its work in August.

In November, the agency issued another administrative order requiring Water Gremlin to make hazardous waste management changes, such as storing all waste in closed containers and more thoroughly recording shipment of the waste to waste facilities.

MPCA has determined that Water Gremlin has met those requirements, which allows the company to resume operations.