On Friday, Sept. 19, Neighborhood Concerned Citizens Group (NCCG) filed a request with the Office of Legislative Auditor (OLA) for an investigation into Water Gremlin. We are thankful to Sen. Roger Chamberlain for submitting the first request. We wanted our citizen voice and perspective on the record as well.
Questions citizens have been asking are covered in the request and an overview is below.
* How was 15-plus years of excessive TCE emissions missed?
* How did Water Gremlin not know equipment was not operational?
* How did the MPCA not catch it earlier?
* Where else in Minnesota is this happening?
* What could have been done differently?
How much wrong does a company get to do before there is a very significant penalty, or even a referral for criminal charges?
As reported in the White Bear Press, Water Gremlin said, after hiring a new safety manager, they discovered the issues. Those issues were reported to the MPCA in July, 2018. A representative goes on to suggest that since July, 2018, everything has been transparent with the MCPA and the community. However, since self-reporting in July, 2018, there have been at least two additional, serious issues.
The first resulted in a duty of candor violation when Water Gremlin told the MPCA they would slow emissions in the fall, until they understood more about this issue. The data referenced in the Stipulation Agreement shows, instead, they increased emissions, dramatically after July, 2018. Due in large part to that increase, in 2018 they released the most TCE, 120 tons, against a 10-ton permit.
Then, last month it came out that Water Gremlin held on to data for 40 days that should have been turned over to the MPCA in two days. The data showed no control of tDCE in the plant. Additionally, tDCE was being released into the ground, not just the air.
When is enough enough?