Water samples don't confirm cancer-causing chemical spilled into Huron River from Wixom plant

Testing water
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WIXOM (WWJ) -- After testing multiple water samples, it has been determined that there isn't a cancer-causing chemical in the Huron River as previously thought.

Test results from the river showed no hexavalent chromium in the water after a chemical spill was reported on Monday.

According to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, nine surface water samples were taken on Wednesday from downstream where the spill happened in Wixom. This followed the two tests taken on Tuesday that detected no presence of the chemical.

Investigators said they are testing sewage material within the Wixom treatment plant to see if the contamination remains inside the plant.

EGLE said crews are also testing at 29 different locations, including Kent Lake. As a precaution and to establish baseline data should contamination reach the intake, EGLE is also testing Barton Pond, where the City of Ann Arbor draws its drinking water.

Modeling estimates that it would take several weeks at minimum for the streamflow to reach the city’s intake.

A "do not contact" recommendation remains in effect for the river between North Wixom and Kensington roads. This includes Norton Creek downstream of the Wixom Wastewater Treatment Plant, Hubbell Pond and Kent Lake.

They recommend that you should avoid touching, drinking or watering plants with the water. People should also not eat fish from the river, as this part is already under a "do not eat" advisory due to PFOS contamination.

EGLE said on Tuesday that several thousands of gallons of a liquid with 5% hexavalent chromium was released into the sewer system by Wixom company Tribar Manufacturing.

According to the state, EGLE was notified at 3:21 p.m. Monday by Tribar about the release of the chemical to the Wixom Sewage Treatment Facility, but it could have started as early as Saturday morning.

It is believed that much of the chemical had made its way through the treatment plant by the time the release was discovered.