HUDSON -- Water Gremlin, a White Bear Township manufacturing company fined by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and required to shut down its coating operations, won’t continue operating in Hudson.
The Hudson Common Council approved an agreement with Hi-Tec Finishing, the Hudson-based company that had began working with Water Gremlin, to end the partnership.
Water Gremlin’s coating operations were shut down on Aug. 22 by the MPCA until it addresses tDCE contamination under the facility. The MPCA permit required all tDCE emissions to be directed to the control stack and put a limit on the amount of emissions.
The company’s coating operations were previously shut down in January and it paid $7 million in fines after TCE, a hazardous air pollutant, was found in groundwater on company property and in soil vapors below the building floor, and lead was found in soil, sediments and surface water, according to the MPCA.
A WCCO investigation published Aug. 26 discovered Water Gremlin was working with Hi-Tec in Hudson after following one of its trucks across state lines. WCCO reported Hi-Tec was working with Water Gremlin to take over its coating process.
Mayor Rich O’Connor said at the council meeting Tuesday night that he was informed of Water Gremlin’s presence in the city by WCCO. The city was previously not aware of it.
“This wasn’t something that fell through the cracks here,” O’Connor said. “There was no way that we would have known about this.”
Hi-Tec Finishing was issued an air pollution control permit by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, which had not been apprised of the problems Water Gremlin had with MPCA, O’Connor said.
When a permit is issued, there is a 30-day time to appeal. O’Connor said the city was working to do so, but had limited time as it was not made aware of the issuance of the permit.
“Suffice it to say I’m not happy about this,” O’Connor said.
Ultimately the city did not have to file an appeal. O’Connor said the company that had agreed to lease the space to Water Gremlin realized what was going on, and committed that it would not be working in that space.
“I just want to give everybody the background, the history of what happened, and to assure council as well as all Hudsonites that that Water Gremlin process is not going to be happening here in Hudson and that the company that had leased them the space in the first place has come through in a big way,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor further said the process of issuing a permit doesn’t seem right, and he has reached out to the local legislator about it.
This story will be updated as more information is available.