Toxic Chemical Spill in the Huron River

As of August 2nd, the State of Michigan is advising people to avoid the Huron River downstream of the city of Wixom. Chemicals from Tribar Technologies, an auto supply factory manufacturing chrome plating, were accidentally released into the sewer system, which discharges into the Huron River.

The release of several thousand gallons of Hexavalent chromium, was discovered by Tribar on August 1st; however, they indicated that the spill could have occurred as early as Saturday morning, July 30th

Hexavalent chromium, or hex chrome, is a carcinogenic chemical used in plastic finishing. It can cause numerous health problems through inhalation, skin contact, and ingestion. Because it is so hazardous, companies generally use other harmful chemicals such as PFAS or “forever chemicals” to coat plating baths to help protect workers from chromium inhalation.

The Huron River runs through multiple counties before flowing into Lake Erie. Ann Arbor is the largest city on its banks, which draws its drinking water from. Experts believe the contaminants should not reach the city’s water intake for several weeks.

In the meantime, the Michigan Department of Health (DHHS) advises all people and their pets to avoid contact with the Huron River between North Wixom Road in Oakland County and Kensington Road in Livingston County. Norton Creek, Hubbell Pond (aka the Mill Pond) in Oakland County, and Kent Lake are included in this advisory.

People should not wade, play, or swim in the water. People should not drink from, water their plants, or consume fish caught from the Huron river.  

How these chemicals were spilled is still unknown. Authorities are continuing their investigation and assessment efforts. Liesl Clark, director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) says, “Our teams are in the field now assessing the situation. We will stay on the job as long as it takes to ensure residents are safe and impacts to the ecosystem are minimized.”

DHHS is urging people with questions regarding potential hex chrome exposure to call the MI Toxic Hotline at 800-648-6942, between 8 am-5 pm.

This is not Tribar Technologies first mishap. The current “Do Not Eat” fish advisory is still in place for the Huron river, largely due to their release of PFAS chemicals. In February 2022, parts of the Huron River were shut down in Wayne County due to the discovery of an oil spill traced back to Flat Rock Metal Inc.

Toxic contamination in our drinking waters unfortunately is still an issue that requires more oversight and protection from all. More and more members of Michigan and federal government are starting to take notice.

For pure, clean, quality drinking water, contact Reynold’s Water Conditioning today.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: 

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