Statement: Joint statement on Ramsey County Court ruling regarding Water Gremlin

November 22, 2019

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Joint statement on Ramsey County Court ruling regarding Water Gremlin

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) released this statement today regarding the orders issued by Ramsey County District Court with regard to Water Gremlin, of White Bear Township.

Today, Judge Leonardo Castro affirmed the state’s authority and actions to address the public health threat of lead poisoning and protect children. He provided clear and detailed orders regarding steps Water Gremlin must put into place in the short-term and the need for Water Gremlin to implement a permanent solution to better protect the health and safety of its workers and their families.

The judge agreed with MDH and DLI’s recommendations to put in place permanent solutions within the next 12 months, including new changing areas and shower facilities, to ensure workers are free of lead when they leave the facility. In the short term, the judge ordered Water Gremlin to clean up lead contamination in employees’ vehicles and test their homes for lead contamination and abate if needed, with employees’ permission. Our agencies remain vigilant as we monitor Water Gremlin’s performance in preventing take-home lead. It is essential that no lead leave the facility where it may continue to poison children.

The judge is committed to moving up the court date if our agencies have concerns about Water Gremlin not being diligent in complying with the court’s orders and making sufficient progress toward implementing longer-term solutions.

In the meantime, we will continue to reach out to past and present employees to ensure that they have information about health impacts and how to ensure their safety and the safety of the families. In addition, MDH will work with St. Paul – Ramsey County Public Health and other local public health departments to closely monitor children’s blood lead levels and follow up with families of those children found to have elevated blood lead levels.

We encourage current and former Water Gremlin workers and their families to take advantage of the free lead testing and other resources we are offering to help them address this issue. Visit Ramsey County’s Help for Water Gremlin Employees for more information.

For more information, contact:

Doug Schultz
MDH Communications