A person bends down towards the water, holding a measuring device in their other hand.
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UPDATE – as of Aug. 9 3:15 pm

Testing conducted by EGLE over the weekend showed no presence of hexavalent chromium in the Huron River System. 

EGLE set up 55 locations scattered from Ann Arbor to Wixom to determine if the toxic spill traveled into the water stream. Of the 75 samples taken, none of them had any detectable levels of hexavalent chromium or total chromium compounds. 

Testing will still continue to ensure that no trace of chromium entered the water intake. Officials continue to recommend that all people and pets avoid contact with the sections of the Huron River mentioned in the article. 

ORIGINAL STORY – Aug. 4 1:34 pm

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) have advised all people and pets in Washtenaw, Monroe, Oakland, Livingston and Wayne counties to avoid contact with the Huron River water between North Wixom Road in Oakland County and Kensington Road in Livingston County following a chemical spill in the river.

Officials stressed that there is no immediate threat to the community’s drinking water and the situation is being monitored closely. According to time-of-travel modeling, it would take several weeks for the contaminants to reach the city’s water intakes. 

Tribar Manufacturing, a Wixom auto supplier plant, was responsible for releasing industrial contamination into the Huron River. This is the second release that the plant has been responsible for in the last four years. 

The plant released hexavalent chromium into the Wixom sewer treatment system that flows into the Huron River. Hexavalent chromium is a harmful agent that can cause adverse health conditions through inhalation, ingestion or skin contact. Research has linked the chromium compounds in the contaminant to lung cancer, asthma and bronchitis.

Tribar notified EGLE of the release of several thousand gallons of liquid containing 5% hexavalent chromium into the sewer system on Monday. However, Wixom city officials believe the release may have started as early as Saturday morning.

EGLE took river water samples from multiple areas downstream from the treatment plant and is determining the extent of the contamination. Results are expected within the week.

The plant is currently being shut down for further investigation.

Summer News Editor Sejal Patil can be reached at sejpatil@umich.edu.