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Health Department - News

Posted on: August 3, 2022

Huron River No-Contact Advisory Lifted

river water newsflash

  • Update 8/12/22 press release from the state. The no-contact recommendation for non-Washtenaw areas of the river has been lifted. Testing and analysis have shown much less contamination was released into the river than initially thought.  More information and test results are available at Michigan.gov/EGLETribarResponse or by calling the MI Toxic Hotline at 800-648-6942. 
  • 8/11/22 press release from the state. EGLE issues violation notices to Tribar as investigation into chemical release continues.
  • 8/8/22 press release from the state. Testing conducted over the weekend by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) did not detect the presence of hexavalent chromium in the Huron River system downstream of a chemical release.
  • 8/5/22 press release from the state. State investigators today focused on the Hubbell Pond area in Milford (Oakland County), where two test samples from yesterday showed a low-level presence of a toxic chemical released into the Huron River system by a manufacturing company. 
  • 8/4/22 press release from the state. Preliminary results detect no presence of hexavalent chromium following Huron River spill.
  • 8/3/22 press release from the state. Residents with questions about hexavalent chromium, potential health effects or exposures can call the MI Toxic Hotline at 800-648-6942, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Extended hotline hours will be offered this weekend, Saturday, Aug. 6 and Sunday, Aug. 7, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

43104789_1659471595473Map is via Bridge Michigan - black box shows area where people should avoid contact with water.

8/2/22 Press release from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy:

The Michigan departments of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and local officials are working together to protect residents in Monroe, Oakland, Livingston, Wayne, and Washtenaw counties following a release of hexavalent chromium to the Wixom Sewage Treatment Facility from Tribar Manufacturing in Wixom. The sewer feeds the Wixom wastewater treatment plant, which discharges to the Huron River system.

Hexavalent chromium is a known carcinogen that can cause a number of adverse health effects through ingestion, skin contact or inhalation.

MDHHS is recommending until further notice that all people and pets avoid contact with the Huron River water between North Wixom Road in Oakland County and Kensington Road in Livingston County. This includes Norton Creek downstream of the Wixom Wastewater Treatment Plant (Oakland County), Hubbell Pond (also known as Mill Pond in Oakland County) and Kent Lake (Oakland and Livingston counties).

Sampling efforts are underway, and it is anticipated that results will be received in the coming days. This recommendation will be updated as additional information becomes available.

For the section of the Huron River described above:

“This recommendation is being made to help protect the health and safety of families who live, work and play in the Huron River in the affected area,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “As we gather additional information through sampling, this recommendation may change or be expanded.”

“This is a significant release into a large, much-loved waterway,” said Liesl Clark, EGLE director. “Our teams are in the field now assessing the situation. We will stay on the job as long as it takes to ensure residents are safe and impacts to the ecosystem are minimized.”

EGLE was notified at 3:21 p.m. Monday by Tribar that it had released several thousand gallons of a liquid containing 5% hexavalent chromium into the sewer system. The company says it discovered the release Monday but indicated it may have started as early as Saturday morning according to Wixom city officials. It is believed that much of the contaminant already made its way through the treatment plant by the time the release was discovered.

EGLE is taking river water samples from multiple areas downstream from the treatment plant today and is working with local and state health officials to assess the extent of the contamination. Testing is also taking place within the Tribar facility and the Wixom wastewater treatment plant. Monitoring will continue in coming days and weeks.

Officials stressed there is no immediate threat to drinking water. The closest drinking water intake is in Ann Arbor. Time-of-travel modeling indicates it would take the contaminant several weeks or more to make its way to the city’s water intakes. The city has been notified of the release and is also taking steps to monitor incoming water.

Tribar Manufacturing was identified as the source of PFAS contamination to the river system in recent years, installing additional filtration to help address that problem. State regulators will investigate the circumstances of the weekend release at the facility, but stressed that the immediate concern is ensuring the protection of the environment and public health.

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