AUGUST 1, 2022THE MAJOR PERMIT is now open for public comment. All responses are due by August 20, 2022, 4:30 CT. Go here to the MPCA Water Gremlin site to read the permit and to easily submit comments online. And, keep reading here to learn more about the issue.

Taking action to protect our White Bear area.

In March of 2019, the MPCA announced a stipulation agreement had been signed with Water Gremlin. As the White Bear area community began to read the agreement, we learned we had been exposed to highly excessive levels of TCE for 17 years. Check out this page on the MDH website for a Public Health Assessment summary (draft version published in Q2 2022) of what the community may have been exposed to as a result of years of highly excessive pollution at the hands of Water Gremlin.

As 2019 progressed, additional actions were taken against Water Gremlin by the MPCA, the MDH and the Dept. of Labor and Industry for poor handling of lead, for hazardous waste violations and more.

In 3.5 years, 2 administrative orders and 2 stipulation agreements have been issues. Frankly, this website (maintained by community volunteers) hasn’t been kept up-to-date this last year or so. But, now that the permit is out for public comment, we’ll try to get it updated to reflect some of the more current happenings so that you can get the community-based perspective.

OH, by the way. Out of all the bad that has been exposed by Water Gremlin’s actions (check out the OLA for a summary), there has been some good.
* Due to all of the remediation work, 1,4 Dioxane was found in Gem Lake private wells and citizens were provided with safe drinking water. Water Gremlin is not thought to be the cause of the 1,4 Dioxane, however their actions did lead to the work that found this issue.
* A joint powers agreement was signed between Ramsey County and the MPCA, enabling the two groups to work together during issues like this.
* The MPCA made changes in how they train permit engineers and now cross-train and have peer reviews as a formalized process.
* The MPCA changed how their databases ‘talk’ to each other. Different types of data were going into different places and not being shared or connected.
These are just some of the positives that have come out of all of the pain caused by decades of highly excessive pollution by Water Gremlin.

Jennifer Mayerle in “The Reporter’s Notebook” Part 1.
In less than 9 minutes, you’ll hear a quick overview of 2019. (Recorded 1/17/2020)

A look inside Water Gremlin…

When is enough enough? Water Gremlin was permitted to release 10 tons of TCE per year. Over 17 years, they released more than 1000 tons into the White Bear area community. (Page 9, Stipulation Agreement)

And, regarding lead, 24 children have been found to have elevated levels of lead in their blood. The lead was “brought home” from workers.

To learn more about what happened from the NCCG community perspective, click here for a series of articles summarizing our findings and research.

Citizens are fearful about health impacts and environmental damages. The community is asking a lot of questions of the MPCA, the MDH and our local and state officials to understand.

We have health concerns for children living in the area during the 17 years of excessive pollution. And, we’re worried about the children who have attended elementary school ‘in the zone’.

White Bear Area Citizen

Join us as we learn more about the Water Gremlin contamination issues.

Our goal for this site is to provide you with a resource for learning more. And, if you’d like to get involved or stay in-the-know, scroll to the end of this page to sign up for update emails. Or, join our Facebook page.

Our Strategic Focus:

Understand the Past
Water Gremlin has exposed our community to unsafe levels of TCE and possibly other pollutants since 2002 or earlier. We need to know the full scope of the incident in order to identify health needs of current and past residents, workers and students in our neighborhood.

I want to know what the real pollution was so that I can help my kids understand what they need to watch for as they move on into the next stage of their lives.

White Bear Area / Whitaker Resident

Protect the Future
We are working to ensure that Water Gremlin stays in compliance with the stipulation agreement, that the community is informed if they are out of compliance and to ensure that the replacement to TCE is the best alternative – for the community and the environment.

We have been asked repeatedly by community members – Are we safe with the new chemical and pollution control equipment? What other VOCs are in the area that we don’t know about?

NCCG Board Member

Maintain Accountability
NCCG is working with elected and regulatory officials to ensure that there is accountability for the citizen’s “right to know” and to ensure a transparent and participatory process with ongoing citizen information and input.

Also, NCCG is working to understand what went wrong and how government, regulatory, industry and citizens can impact different outcomes for our future.  

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Copyright Neighborhood Concerned Citizens Group (NCCG) 2019 – All rights reserved