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State expands Huron River testing in probe over chemical release

Huron River chemical spill
Posted at 3:09 PM, Aug 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-03 15:09:18-04

WIXOM, Mich. (WXYZ) — The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy expanded their testing of the Huron River as they continue to probe the release of hexavalent chromium that occurred over the weekend.

RELATED: Officials urge residents to avoid section of Huron River after hexavalent chromium spill

EGLE took samples at nine locations downstream as they are trying to track the location of the hexavalent chromium. Test results from these samples are expected tomorrow.

Test results have already come back from the first two tests taken Tuesday at the mouth of Norton Creek and on the Huron River, just downstream from the creek. Those results did not detect hexavalent chromium, but officials stress they are just the first two data points in what will be a lengthy testing process. Those two results are also not enough to draw any conclusions.

Inspections are also taking place at Tribar Manufacturing in Wixom, which is the source of the hexavalent chromium. Officials say it was discharged into the sanitary system over the weekend and sent to the Wixom wastewater treatment facility, after which is was discharged into Norton Creek.

Hexavalent chromium is a known carcinogen that can cause a number of adverse health effects through ingestion, skin contact or inhalation. Because of this, until further notice, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is recommending 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).

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.