PART TWO: In May of 2019, Water Gremlin launched a site to educate the community on their pollution control fines and what they were doing for the future. This is the second in a series of NCCG responses to their Frequently Asked Questions.
From Water Gremlin
Q: What is a Supplemental Environmental Project?
A: A Supplemental Environmental Project, or SEP, is a voluntary project that provides tangible environmental or public health benefits and is usually considered in settlement agreements related to a company or individual’s failure to comply with environmental laws.
Q: What are the Supplemental Environmental Projects related to Water Gremlin?Water Gremlin FAQs, Environmental Updates, Questions 1&2. As of June 19, 2019
A: We are working on two supplementary environmental projects to benefit public health and the environment:
Project one: Plant and maintain 1,500 trees in public areas in White Bear Township, White Bear Lake and Gem Lake. These trees will be planted starting in the fall of 2019 and the project will be complete by 2021.
Project two: (See http://www.wgupdate.com FAQ page for project two, unrelated to trees.)
We’re going to tackle two questions with one response. If you read the Stipulation Agreement (page 16 & 17), you’ll see that while the majority of these trees are to be planted in the community, there are some that will go on the property. And…for the neighbors who live around the perimeter of Water Gremlin…the response is “ABOUT TIME”!
When Water Gremlin expanded in 2013, they took down a significant number of trees and dramatically changed the landscape around the plant, and the neighborhood. Plus, they impacted the natural, wetland habitat for birds and animals. A requirement of the project was for trees to be planted on the outside edge of the perimeter to help replace the ones taken down. Additionally, for neighbors, these trees would provide a natural shield around the expanded part of the facility and soften the extremely bright and harsh sodium lighting. The trees were never planted.
Over the years, there have been many conversations about trees, both formally and informally between Whitaker area community members and local government. The trees were never planted.
Then, in January of 2019, as they were talking to the community about the next planned expansion, we reminded Water Gremlin of their previous promise to plant trees. The plant manager (who no longer works at WG) said he knew nothing about the previous commitment about the trees, but assured our community that Water Gremlin would include a line of trees around that section of the facility, in addition to the other planned landscaping tied to this next expansion. Because the expansion plans were put on hold, due to the 17+ years of excessive TCE emissions, the planting of trees was also put on hold.
The planting of trees is finally a requirement they won’t be able to back away from easily. We’re thrilled to see their original commitment from 2013 will now be upheld. The trees will be planted!
All referenced FAQs from Water Gremlin are copied and pasted directly from their website as of June 14, 2019. Our responses based on facts (cited) and our point-of-view (POV) . Our POV is based on an assessment of facts, advice from independent third-party experts and our own experiences.