Michigan health and environmental authorities have issued a warning to residents in communities northwest of Detroit about the release of a harmful liquid into the Huron River by an automotive supplier with a history of contaminating the waterway.
Wixom-based injection molder Tribar Manufacturing released "several thousand gallons" of contaminated liquid into the sewer system and notified the state Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy on Aug. 1, the state agency said in a news release Aug. 2.
The liquid contained 5 percent hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen. Release of the substance, which can cause harm through ingestion, skin contact or inhalation, could have started as soon as July 30.
The Michigan departments of Health and Human Services recommends that all people and pets avoid contact with the Huron River between North Wixom Road in Oakland County and Kensington Road in Livingston County including Norton Creek downstream of the Wixom Wastewater Treatment Plant, Hubbell Pond (Mill Pond) and Kent Lake.
Authorities said they are sampling the water and expect results to come back in the coming days.
"This recommendation is being made to help protect the health and safety of families who live, work and play in the Huron River in the affected area," Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director, said in the release. "As we gather additional information through sampling, this recommendation may change or be expanded."
Tribar Manufacturing molds decorative trim and badge assemblies along with other parts for the auto industry.
In 2018, it was identified as the source of PFAS contamination to the river system in 2018 and installed a filtration system to correct it, according to the state.
A spokesperson for the company could not be reached Aug. 2.
Tribar has 58 injection molding presses and $130 million in sales, according to Plastics News estimates.
"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," the release said.