Our Ask of Water Gremlin – Please Care

Water Gremlin – please care about our community and the impact you have on it. The April 2021 Stipulation Agreement outlines 23 violations that are serious. Most are not simple administrative mistakes. They are harmful violations that common-sense (and care) could have avoided.

A spokesperson from Water Gremlin is quoted in a WCCO story saying: “Working through the MPCA provided us with a clearer understanding of the changes they wanted to see to improve upon our environmental program. ….”

RIDDLE US THIS – why does it take working with the MPCA to understand common-sense laws and regulation that were put into place to protect community, workers and environment? We get that regulations can be really confusing at times. However, most of the documented violations are obvious issues to the layman. This isn’t the 1970s – we know standards and expectations have improved dramatically. For example:

  1. You can’t have a 125 foot open trench filled with a foot of lead contaminated waste – especially a trench that could expose hazards to the outside environment (a wetland). And, one that employees are walking around/picking up contaminants on their shoes.

2. During shift-change cleanings, you can’t kick a piece of haz waste under the machines…out of sight and not correct the employee and improve on your training.

3. If you see visible leaks of chemicals and liquid containing lead, you can’t ignore them and let the leaks build up.

4. You shouldn’t ignore 332 pounds of TCE contaminated waste that built up under machines for 15+ years.

5. Does it seem like a good idea to put lead contaminated with oil into a container that has holes punched in the bottom so that the oil flows onto the facility floor and is separated from the lead? What do you do with that lead contaminated oil… on the floor?

6. Should Haz Waste be stored in containers where the lid isn’t flimsy so that it doesn’t spill if accidentally dropped or knocked over? (Of course we all would expect haz waste would be stored with a lid. Many of of your haz containers weren’t.)

7. Should Haz Waste containers be labeled? (yes…Water Gremlin…they should be.)

8. Should everything possible be done to avoid or prepare for fires, including communications/plans with local emergency services, and the cleaning of flammable materials? (Yes Water Gremlin – it’s required – and a courtesy – to make sure your community-based first responders understand the facility before they have to go take care of an emergency. And, yes, keeping flammable materials cleaned up is a good preventative measure. One or two fires might be an accident. Several fires over a few months indicates larger problems. Take care of it on your own, vs. being mandated. That’s what good corporate citizens do.)

9. Should your employees, even if they speak many different languages, be trained and prepared to follow the safety protocols put in place? Should they be monitored and corrected when they make mistakes? Yes.

All of the 23 violations are serious. Very few are ‘administrative’ in nature. Instead, the majority seem to result from a culture of disregard for the impacts of their lead-based business.
Water Gremlin – how are we supposed to believe you are, as stated to WCCO: “… committed to providing a safe and environmentally sustainable operation, for our employees and the local community.”?

We’ve been waiting for 2+ years for you to make meaningful change and prove to us that you’ll be better than your past 17+ years Please start