FBI involved in investigation of Huron River chemical release

Posted at 5:49 AM, Aug 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-11 23:25:56-04

Clean-up efforts are continuing on Thursday morning as new details emerge surrounding the chemical spill in the Huron River.

It's expected that the company responsible for leaking 10,000 gallons of a cancer-causing toxin into the river will release more information on how it happened.

Related: Huron River Spill: What is hexavalent chromium and how dangerous is it?

A former employee is suspected of overriding a safety alarm 460 times in a three-hour span, which is about once every 20 seconds, and the investigation revealed that the employee wasn't even supposed to be in the building.

The manufacturing company, TRIBAR, is responsible for the leak of hexavalent chromium into the river.

In a Q&A sent to 7 Action News, a representative from the company said an employee, who has since resigned, was in the building after hours and allegedly overrode a safety feature hundreds of times as the toxins spilled into the river.

Officials reveal management was not aware the employee was in the building and was not alerted that a safety feature was being tampered with.

Michigan House Democratic Floor Leader Yousef Rabhi is among the many calling for the company to shut down. TRIBAR is also responsible for leaking PFAs chemicals into the river in 2018.

7 Action News also learned that the FBI had some questions about the incident. The company says it fully cooperated with federal authorities and local police.

Tribar has until Aug. 20 to respond to the violation notices issued Wednesday.

The state is also going after the company with the Michigan Environment Great Lakes and Energy, issuing several violations including the discharge of a pollutant, and failure to immediately notify the department of the spill.

The state is also demanding the company pay for clean-up efforts regarding the spill. The company tells 7 Action News they have already given the state resources and will continue to do so.