ST PAUL, Minn. — A Ramsey County judge will allow Water Gremlin to resume production at its manufacturing facility in White Bear Township on Tuesday, Nov. 5, while ordering the company to implement several safety measures to address health concerns.
Water Gremlin manufactures battery posts and fishing weights made from lead. A judge ordered the company to shut down this week, after St. Paul and Ramsey County Public Health investigators determined that at least 12 children of workers at Water Gremlin had elevated blood lead levels.
According to court documents, employees will return to work on Monday, Nov. 4 for training on lead reduction protocols. The first phase of the company's "Clean Exit Plan" also calls for new clothing requirements in production areas, along with retraining and enforcement of policies to limit the spread of lead dust.
In a joint statement, the Minnesota Department of Health, the MInnesota Department of Labor and Industry, and St. Paul-Ramsey County Public Health said they were pleased with the ruling, but more work is still needed.
"We appreciate the court’s action to begin the process of ensuring that Water Gremlin employees and their children are safe from lead poisoning. These first steps by Water Gremlin are important – but not sufficient – and, as the court made clear, will need to be followed by more permanent solutions," the statement read. "We were also pleased the court made clear it would readily cease operations at the facility again if Water Gremlin was not diligent in complying with the court’s order today and its orders in the future."
Health officials and the company are due back in court on Wednesday, Nov. 6, where the judge will review the progress made at the facility.