EGLE: Hexavalent chromium not detected on Huron River system downstream

A do-not-contact recommendation is still in place.
Huron River chemical spill
Posted at 10:28 PM, Aug 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-08 22:28:40-04

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — Water testing over the weekend did not find traces of hexavalent chromium in the Huron River system downstream after a chemical spill was reported in the river last week.

The state said last week that hexavalent chromium, a cancer-causing chemical, was released from Tribar Manufacturing in Wixom to the Wixom Sewage Treatment Facility the weekend of July 30. The state says the sewer feeds the plant, which then discharges to the Huron River system.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy says crews tested 55 locations on the river system from Barton Pond to Wixom. There were no detectable level of hexavalent chromium or total chromium.

Though the chemical was not detectable, a do-not-contact recommendation is still in place.

Since the chemical release, 144 water samples were taken on 42 river miles. Three of those samples came back with detections of hexavalent chromium — two on Milford Pond and one in the middle of Kent Lake.

The detections on Kent Lake from lab analysis Friday found 5 parts per billion. The two on Hubbell Pond detected 11 and 9 parts per billion. The detectable limit is 5 parts per billion, EGLE said. The three samples were at or below values to protect aquatic life.

“Investigators are evaluating test results from wastewater solids that were sequestered at the Wixom Wastewater treatment plant that appear to have trapped chromium, including hexavalent chromium, and of a carbon filtration system at Tribar that may have trapped the hexavalent chromium before it was discharged to the wastewater plant,” EGLE said in a press release.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is recommending that people and pets avoid contact with the Huron River water between North Wixom Road in Oakland County and Kensington Road in Livingston County.

MDHHS has the following recommendations:

Don’t swim in, wade in, play in or drink water directly from the Huron River.
Don’t water your plants or lawn with Huron River water.
Don’t eat fish caught in this section of the Huron River.

Properly constructed and permitted drinking water wells are unlikely contaminated, officials said. They also say the chemical is unlikely to enter the groundwater.

“Unpermitted driven sand points and submerged irrigation pumps installed by property owners along the river may be vulnerable and should never be used for drinking water,” EGLE said.

The chemical release is still being investigated.

Anyone with questions can contact MDHHS’ MI Toxic Hotline at 800-648-6942.