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Huron River tests continue after preliminary samples reportedly show no presence of contaminant

Posted at 3:53 PM, Aug 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-04 15:53:51-04

WIXOM, Mich. (WXYZ) — Testing of the Huron River continues after officials say preliminary results of several samples contained no detectable presence of the contaminant hexavalent chromium.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) announced the contaminant hexavalent chromium was not found in test results from nine surface water samples taken Wednesday after the release of the harmful chemical into the Huron River system. Two previous tests, taken Tuesday, also found no presence of the chemical. Surface water samples are collected from the first six to 12 inches of the surface of the water.

As testing continues along the river system and in the Wixom wastewater treatment facility the “do not contact” recommendation remains in effect.

Over the weekend liquid containing 5% hexavalent chromium was discharged from Tribar Manufacturing in Wixom and routed to the Wixom wastewater treatment facility. Norton Creek receives the wastewater, which flows into the Huron River system. Hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen, can cause many adverse health effects through ingestion, skin contact or inhalation.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) recommends that people and pets avoid contact with the Huron River water between North Wixom Road in Oakland County and Kensington Road in Livingston County. The recommendation also includes avoiding Norton Creek downstream of the Wixom Wastewater Treatment Plant in Oakland County, Hubbell Pond, also known as Mill Pond in Oakland County and Kent Lake in Oakland and Livingston counties.

Testing of sewage material within the Wixom treatment plant is being conducted to determine if contamination is present in sludge inside the plant. Field testing at 29 locations will also be conducted along the river system, including Kent Lake. The Barton Pond, where the city of Ann Arbor gets its drinking water, will also go through testing as a precaution and to establish baseline data in the event contamination does reach the intake. According to modeling estimates, it may take several weeks, at minimum, for the streamflow to reach the city’s intake.