The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced today that they are investigating potential exposure to an industrial solvent in our community.
On January 14, MPCA requested that Water Gremlin, Inc., a manufacturing plant in White Bear Township, shut down part of their operations after discovering the company was emitting too much trichloroethylene (TCE) due to an equipment malfunction. The company complied that day, and the partial shutdown has stopped the TCE emissions. The public is not being exposed at this time.
It is unclear when the equipment designed to limit TCE emissions stopped working properly. The MPCA and MDH will investigate the extent and magnitude of the emissions and potential health impacts of human exposure.
The map below shows the area of concern, a 1 to 1.5 mile radius centered on the Water Gremlin facility. The plant is located a half-mile south of Highway 96 on Otter Lake Road.
You can find more information here. Updates on the investigation will be posted to this webpage as they become available.
TCE is an industrial solvent used to degrease metal parts. It is invisible and odorless and evaporates easily into air. Breathing TCE can cause negative health effects, including damage to the immune and reproductive systems, liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. TCE is particularly dangerous for pregnant women. The potential for health effects depends on the length and amount of exposure. Visit here for more information on TCE and associated health concerns.
Public Information Meeting
Community members are invited to attend a public informational meeting to learn more and talk with state officials.
When: Thursday, February 7 from 6:30 to 9pm
Where: Central Middle School, 4857 Bloom Ave., White Bear Lake, MN 55110
MPCA and MDH will send periodic email updates as they gather more information. Sign up here to receive these emails.
If you have questions, you can leave a message at 651-201-4897 or email email@example.com.
If you work at the Water Gremlin facility, please contact the Occupational Safety and Health Administration at 651-284-5050. More information on OSHA is available here.
I recognize that this news will be very stressful for everyone in our community and particularly worrisome for parents and women who are pregnant. I am closely monitoring the situation and will continue to update you as soon as I receive more information.
Please let me know if you have additional questions.