Michigan lifts no-contact recommendation with Huron River after reviewing water samples

Amount released into river was much less than originally thought

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. – Michigan health officials said there is no need for people and pets to continue to avoid contact with Huron River water.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services made the decision after reviewing the samples they collected after cancer-causing hexavalent chromium was released into the water system.

Officials issued a no-contact order on Aug. 2 after the chemical was released into the Wixom Sewage Treatment Facility from Tribar Manufacturing in Wixom the weekend of July 29. The sewer feeds the Wixom wastewater treatment plant, which discharges to the Huron River system.

“MDHHS is lifting its no-contact recommendation for the Huron River based on testing results we have received over the past week,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “The collaboration between local and state officials illustrates the strong commitment our state has to the health and safety of Michigan families.”

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

What did the data show?

According to health officials, data showed that chromium levels in the river were below levels of concern for effects on human health.

  • The amount of hexavalent chromium released into the Huron River was much less than originally thought. 
  • The release was predominantly trivalent chromium, not hexavalent chromium. Trivalent chromium is a micronutrient that is part of humans’ diet and is far less concerning from a health perspective.
  • Hexavalent chromium was not detected in the majority of the surface water samples. The detections in three samples were well below the level that could cause harm.
  • Test results will be made public online here.

Of 146 water samples collected over 42 miles of the river since the release, hexavalent chromium was detected in three samples. Chromium was found in six of the 146 samples.

“Public health and safety are paramount to EGLE’s mission,” said EGLE Director Liesl Clark. While diligent sampling and testing continue on miles of the Huron River system, along with additional support of communities, the hard work and long hours of EGLE and MDHHS teams have led us to where we are today.”

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

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.