Michigan State researchers said test samples taken Thursday from Hubbell Pond in Milford showed a slight presence of a toxic chemical released into the Huron River System by the Tribar Manufacturing company in Wixom over the weekend.
Two Michigan Department of Environment crews, Great Lakes and Energy, took water samples upstream, downstream and in the pond on Friday to gather more information about the presence of hexavalent chromium, a known cancer-causing chemical.
According to Michigan authorities, hexavalent chromium is known to be a carcinogen that can cause a number of adverse health effects if ingested, skin contact, or inhaled.
State officials are still investigating why the release happened, the exact volume and product that was released, and the timeline of events.
The Hubbell Pond samples were the only ones to detect hexavalent chromium, of more than 30 samples taken at various depths from near the release point downstream to Barton Pond in Ann Arbor.
“Liquid containing 5% hexavalent chromium was discharged into the Tribar Manufacturing sanitary sewer in Wixom and into the Wixom wastewater treatment plant last weekend,” Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy said in a statement.
Michigan authorities advised people and pets to avoid contact with the waters of the Huron River 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 (aka Mill Pond in Oakland County), and Kent Lake (Oakland and Livingston County).
Residents are also warned not to water their plants with river water and not to eat fish caught in that part of the river.
Authorities also warned that this recommendation could be extended to other parts of the river as it receives additional test results.
Well-built and authorized drinking water sources that are not affected by surface water are unlikely to be contaminated with chromium from the river, they said.