Cancer-causing chemical found in Michigan pond

Written by Javed Iqbal

Michigan state investigators said test samples taken Thursday from Hubbell Pond in Milford showed low levels of a toxic chemical that was released into the Huron River System by Tribar Manufacturing Company in Wixom last weekend.

Two crews from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy took samples of water upstream, downstream and in the pond Friday to gather more information about the presence of hexavalent chromium, a known cancer-causing chemical.

According to Michigan authorities, hexavalent chromium is a known carcinogen that can cause a variety of health effects through ingestion, skin contact or inhalation.

State officials are still investigating why the release occurred, the exact amount and product released and the timeline of events.

The Hubbell Pond samples were the only ones in which hexavalent chromium was detected, out of more than 30 samples taken from various depths from near the release point downstream to Barton Pond in Ann Arbor.

“Liquid containing 5% hexavalent chromium was discharged into the sanitary sewer system from Tribar Manufacturing in Wixom last weekend and directed to the Wixom Wastewater Treatment Plant,” the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy said in a statement.

Michigan authorities advised people and pets to avoid contact with the Huron River water between North Wixom Road in Oakland County and Kensington Road in Livingston County. This includes Norton Creek downstream of the Wixom Wastewater Treatment Plant (Oakland County), Hubbell Pond (also known as Mill Pond in Oakland County), and Kent Lake (Oakland and Livingston counties).

Residents are also warned not to water their plants with river water or eat fish caught in that part of the river.

Authorities also warned that this recommendation could be extended to other areas of the river as it receives additional test results.

Properly constructed and permitted drinking water wells that are not affected by surface water are unlikely to be contaminated by chromium from the river, they said.

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Javed Iqbal

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