On May 16, 2020, Minnesota became the first state to ban the use of TCE.
The process for phasing out the use of TCE is well underway. The MPCA assigned a project coordinator who has been with the agency for years and is skilled with performance testing/technical requirements. Every company who has an air permit has received a communication asking if they are using TCE currently – or if they have used it in the past.
46 companies have used TCE in past 5 years. Of those, 21 are still using TCE today.
Nine of the 21 companies still using TCE using it for degreasing – similar to how Water Gremlin used TCE. The rest use it for spot cleaning. Check this link for a list of these companies. These 21 companies are now submitting a quarterly report and working directly with the MPCA project coordinator to identify alternatives. The change is tougher for some facilities – especially those who have production processes that have been approved by the FDA or aeronautics industry. They need to both identify a new process and secure approval from customers for the new specs.
But, as many communities in MN have experienced, this is important because TCE is a hard-to-control chemical and the pollution leaves a legacy of real harm to human health. Other communities that are dealing with decades of pollution and health impacts include Fridley, St Paul, Eagan, Edina, Bayport and more.
MN TAP as a resource
MN TAP has continued to be an excellent resource for companies looking to make shifts in their production processes. (For more on MN TAP, see the link below.) MN TAP treats information from companies confidentially and who helps them identity new ways of doing things that are both economically viable and safer. http://www.mntap.umn.edu/…/fac…/machine/tcealternatives/