State lawmaker calls for shutdown of Wixom auto supplier after cancer-causing chemicals leak into Huron River

As officials continue to test and assess waters in and around the Huron River, an Ann Arbor lawmaker is calling for the closure of a Oakland County company responsible for a dangerous chemical spill.
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OAKLAND COUNTY (WWJ) - As officials continue to test and assess waters in and around the Huron River, an Ann Arbor lawmaker is calling for the closure of a Oakland County company responsible for a dangerous chemical spill.

Ann Arbor State Representative Yousef Rabhi said on Wednesday that Tribar Manufacturing in Wixom should be shut down after several thousand gallons of hexavalent chromium leaked from the auto supplier into the river, affecting waterways in several counties.

"It's not just the water that we drink, the Huron River is used extensively for recreation," Rabhi argued. "You can do out there any day over the summer and you will see wall-to-wall people on the river and there's going to be an outcry because it's very heavily used."

State officials said people and pets should stay out of the Huron River between North Wixom Road in Oakland County and Kensington Road in Livingston County.

Officials said other affected waterways include Norton Creek downstream of the Wixom Wastewater Treatment Plant in Oakland County, Hubbell Pond also known as Mill Pond in Oakland County and Kent Lake which straddles the boarder between Oakland and Livingston counties.

The Michigan departments of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) said residents in Monroe, Oakland, Livingston, Wayne, and Washtenaw could be affected.

The EGLE said the release of hexavalent chromium was detected over the weekend at the Wixom Sewage Treatment Facility from Tribar.

"The sewer feeds the Wixom wastewater treatment plant, which discharges to the Huron River system," officials said.

"This is just completely unacceptable that they've be able to continue doing this and that they've been allowed to basically circumvent any type of municipal treatment facility and discharge directly into the river," Rabhi argued.

Rabhi expressed his frustration and said he was "puzzled" at how an entire tank of hexavalent chromium made its way into the waterway.

"This company is clearly an environmental villain and in my opinion, they should be shut down completely."

Rabhi called the site heavily contaminated in his statements on Wednesday.

The chemical is a known carcinogen that can cause a number of adverse health effects if its touched, inhaled or drank.

State health officials so far said they did not detect any presence of hexavalent chromium in a series of tests conducted Tuesday, but more testing will be conducted in the coming days and weeks.

Officials said another update will be given later Wednesday afternoon.

"Tribar Manufacturing was identified as the source of PFAS contamination to the river system in recent years, installing additional filtration to help address that problem," state officials said on Tuesday. "State regulators will investigate the circumstances of the weekend release at the facility, but stressed that the immediate concern is ensuring the protection of the environment and public health."