FROM THE MPCA on 8/19/19

Public informational meeting scheduled for August 27

As you may be aware, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) recently announced it asked Water Gremlin to voluntarily shut down its coating operations that use the solvent FluoSolv until the company takes the appropriate corrective actions to prevent further contamination on the site. After reviewing new data from the company’s pollution control equipment tests and its remediation report, the MPCA has found that Water Gremlin is releasing DCE into the soil on the property and there is new contamination from lead and TCE that needs to be mitigated.

The MPCA is holding an informational meeting on Water Gremlin on August 27, 2019 to provide the community an update on the latest information as well as actions the MPCA has taken to address these unacceptable developments. The meeting will be held at the Central Middle School (4857 Bloom Avenue, White Bear Lake). The doors will open at 7:00 p.m. with the community update starting at 7:15 p.m. MPCA staff will be available to answer questions until 9:00 p.m.

Soil, Groundwater, Sediment and Soil Vapor Contamination

As part of the March 2019 settlement agreement, Water Gremlin was required to conduct an investigation for potential contamination of soil, groundwater, and sediment on or near their property, at 4400 Otter Lake Road in White Bear Lake.

The report from this investigation identifies areas of soil, groundwater, and sediment on Water Gremlin’s property with elevated levels of lead and trichloroethylene (TCE). Vapor samples collected from beneath the slab of the Water Gremlin building contain concentrations of TCE that are above MPCA’s action levels. This means that Water Gremlin must immediately install a building mitigation system to address the vapors.

The report also identified trans-1,2-dichloroethylene (DCE) in the sub-slab vapor samples underneath Water Gremlin’s building. As a result of this uncontrolled release of DCE, the MPCA requested that Water Gremlin voluntarily shut down their coating operations that use DCE until corrective actions, approved by the MPCA, are taken. As of August 16, 2019, Water Gremlin has not complied with this demand. The agency is now considering further action.

MPCA will post the final report on its website ( when the review is complete.

Pollution Control Equipment Test

Water Gremin tested its pollution control equipment on July 23, 2019 after requesting three extensions from the May 30 deadline. The MPCA approved two of those extensions but denied the third, subjecting the company to a daily penalty of $500 until it tested its equipment. The company’s pollution control equipment continues to not meet expected control outcomes. It is our understanding that the company is seeking a new solvent to ensure the equipment is removing the maximum amount of pollutants. While the MPCA has not received an official request for this change in solvents, the agency continues to monitor Water Gremlin’s volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions and ensure the company does not exceed the limit of 90 tons of (VOC) emissions in any 12-month period.

Additional information

Contact the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency or the Minnesota Department of Health at 651-201-4897 (leave a message for a call-back) or email

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More information is available online from the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

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