Wixom plant reportedly spills hexavalent chromium into portion of Huron River

Posted at 4:30 AM, Aug 03, 2022

As the extreme heat comes to metro Detroit on Wednesday, state regulators are telling people in several counties to avoid parts of the Huron River after a chemical spill in Wixom on Monday.

They call this "a significant release" and they are sampling the water, hoping to have results in the coming days.

According to the Michigan departments of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), it was hexavalent chromium that was released to the Wixom Sewage Treatment Facility from Tribar Manufacturing. That sewer feeds the Wixom wastewater treatment plant, which discharges into the Huron River system.

At Kensington Metropark, the beach, the lake, and the boat launch are all closed.

"We want people to know that in the meantime, we're recommending don't contact the water and just let us find out what's going on, and then we'll come back and let them know as soon as possible what the next steps are," MDHHS Environmental Public Health Director Kory Groetsch said.

According to the state, Tribar Manufacturing reportedly discovered the chemical spill on Monday afternoon, and said it could have started leaking as early as Saturday morning.

EGLE says several thousand gallons of a liquid that contains 5% of hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen, went into into the sewer system which discharges into the Huron River Watershed..

"Right now, EGLE is taking river water samples from multiple areas downstream from the treatment plant and working with local and state health officials to assess contamination," Jill Greenberg, an EGLE spokesperson, said.

Officials do want to stress that there is no impact on the drinking water.

MDHHS is recommending that until further notice, 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).

For the section of the Huron River described above:

  • 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.