Company cited for several violations after cancer-causing chemical released into Huron River system

Requests for information have not been ‘adequately addressed’ by Tribar

WIXOM, Mich. – The company responsible for a dangerous chemical release that threatened the Huron River system was served with multiple violation notices on Tuesday.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s Water Resources Division (WRD) issued violations after Tribar Manufacturing released a plating solution containing hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen, into the sanitary sewer system the weekend of July 29.

Read: What is hexavalent chromium? The toxic compound spilled into Huron River, found in I-696 green ooze

Water from the sanitary sewer system is routed to the Wixom wastewater treatment facility. That wastewater is discharged to Norton Creek, which flows into the Huron River system.

The WRD cited Tribar for violations including:

  • Failing to immediately notify EGLE immediately after discovering the discharge, as required under the law and their industrial user discharge permit.
  • Sending an unauthorized discharge of pollutants to the wastewater treatment facility that resulted in interference to the treatment process, violating pretreatment rules in the Michigan Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA).
  • Failure to maintain a properly updated Pollution Incident Prevention Plan (PIPP) and failing to certify compliance with NREPA rules regarding spillage of oil and polluting materials.

The company has until Aug. 20 to respond in writing to the notices.

The notices are also requesting information about what happened, when, and what led up to the chemical release. According to EGLE, “repeated requests by EGLE investigators for this critical information have not been adequately addressed by Tribar.”

EGLE will be seeking full cost recovery from Tribar Manufacturing.

Read: Tests ‘did not detect’ hexavalent chromium in Huron River system; Continue to avoid contact

Violations from the Air Quality Division (AQD), which are available here and here, include:

  • Metal treatment tanks not being properly controlled, which may have allowed unauthorized emissions of nickel and total chrome.
  • Failure to keep proper records that would document compliance with air permit conditions for various processes.

The AQD notices list multiple instances of records not being kept, which is required. Because those records were not kept, the company could not prove they were compliant with several pollutants.

The pollutants include “volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants,” according to EGLE. The company could also not show how much of certain chemicals were used in certain time frames or show control equipment on the coating line was operating properly, officials said.

The notices also include violations for not properly operating equipment to minimize and control emissions of nickel and total chrome.

Tribar has until Aug. 30 to submit explanations of how the violations occurred and what it’s doing to resolve them.

EGLE’s investigation will continue.

About the Author:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.