Officials: ‘Do Not Eat’ fish, PFAS advisory for Huron River, connected waterbodies in effect

Avoid foam on waterways

Photo: Meredith Bruckner

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan health officials are reminding residents to continue following “Do Not Eat” and “Avoid Foam” advisories for the Huron River and connected waterbodies.

MDHHS said everyone should avoid eating fish from the Huron River and several connected waterbodies, and avoid foam on Michigan lakes and rivers known to have per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the water.

“Both advisories remain in effect until scientific evidence indicates that advisories are no longer necessary,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS.

Fish advisory

The “Do not Eat” fish advisory is based on perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) fish data from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). In 2018, high PFOS levels were found in fish filets collected from Kent Lake, Base Line Lake and Argo Pond. Additionally, high PFOS surface water levels were found from Norton Creek downstream to Barton Pond.

In August 2018, MDHHS issued a ‘Do Not Eat’ advisory for fish from the Huron River where North Wixom Road crosses into Oakland County to the mouth of the Huron River as it enters Lake Erie in Wayne County.

The advisory includes:

  • Norton Creek (Oakland County)
  • Hubbell Pond, also known as Mill Pond (Oakland County)
  • Kent Lake (Oakland County)
  • Ore Lake (Livingston County)
  • Strawberry & Zukey Lake (Livingston County)
  • Gallagher Lake (Livingston County)
  • Loon Lake (Livingston County)
  • Whitewood Lakes (Livingston County)
  • Base Line and Portage Lakes (Livingston/Washtenaw County line)
  • Barton Pond (Washtenaw County)
  • Geddes Pond (Washtenaw County)
  • Argo Pond (Washtenaw County)
  • Ford Lake (Washtenaw County)
  • Belleville Lake (Wayne County)
  • Flat Rock Impoundment (Wayne County)

Lake and River Foam Advisory

In September 2018, MDHHS issued an advisory for residents to avoid swallowing foam on the Huron River as it may have high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). While the state does not have data from Huron River foam, the advisory was issued as a precaution given the available Huron River surface water and fish data. Foam can have much higher amounts of PFAS than the waterbody it is found in. Swallowing foam with PFAS could be a risk to your health.

PFAS do not move easily through the skin, but to best protect your health, MDHHS recommends everyone avoid Huron River foam and if you get it on you rinse it off as soon as possible. Additionally, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development recommends that people not allow their pets – especially dogs – to come into contact with or swallow the foam. When they groom or lick themselves, dogs can potentially swallow foam collected in their fur. They should be thoroughly rinsed off with fresh water after contact with foamy water.

Not all foam contains PFAS. There is naturally occurring foam that piles up in bays, eddies or river barriers such as dams. This foam is off-white and/or brown in color and may have an earthy or fishy smell. Naturally occurring foam can have high amounts of bacteria and it is best to rinse off after contact with it as well.

About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.