Dexter Township is looking out for the Huron River

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The Huron River near Hudson Mills Metropark.

Dexter Township is joining with others to demand action to protect the Huron River and other environmental areas.

Specifically, Dexter Township wants to prevent any future release of harmful chemicals by Tribar, or any other company, into the Wixom Wasterwater Treatment Plant (WWTP) or any other such facility that might result in the contamination of the environment.

That’s how one part of the resolution approved by the Dexter Township Board at its Aug. 16 meeting reads.

This comes in response to the advisory the state of Michigan’s departments of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and local officials sent out earlier this month stating they were working together to protect residents in Monroe, Oakland, Livingston, Wayne, and Washtenaw counties following a release of hexavalent chromium to the Wixom Sewage Treatment Facility from Tribar Manufacturing in Wixom.

The sewer feeds the Wixom wastewater treatment plant, which discharges to the Huron River system. A section of the Huron River is located in Dexter Township.

Dexter Township’s resolution said on Aug. 1, 2022, Tribar Manufacturing LLC (Tribar), a company located in Wixom, MI, divulged to Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) that the company had released several thousand gallons of a liquid containing 5% Hexavalent Chromium into the Wixom Wasterwater Treatment Plant (WWTP) on or before that date.

It goes on to say “in recent years, Tribar was identified as the primary source of liquids containing PFAS/PFOS being released into WWTP, resulting in widespread contamination of the Huron River System from Wixom all the way to where the river meets Lake Erie, causing local and state health authorities to issue a “No Eat Fish” advisory affecting that same area for almost four years since being discovered, an advisory that remains in effect to this day.”

It should be noted that there has been an update since the advisory announcement. In a communication to the community, the city of Dexter recently put out this statement:

Effective Friday, August 12, 2022, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) lifted its recommendation for no contact with the Huron River between North Wixom Road in Oakland County and Kensington Road in Livingston County based on a review of testing results. While the State of Michigan's departments of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and Health and Human Services (MDHHS) did not issue any public health notices for the Huron River near Dexter regarding the Wixom-area chromium spill, this is still good news for those planning a visit to the Huron River. Based on a press release issued by EGLE, a "MDHHS data review found that:

  • The amount of hexavalent chromium released into the Huron River was much less than originally thought. 
  • The release was predominantly trivalent chromium, not hexavalent chromium. Trivalent chromium is a micronutrient that is part of humans’ diet and is far less concerning from a health perspective.
  • Hexavalent chromium was not detected in the majority of the surface water samples. The detections in three samples were well below the level that could cause harm."

No matter for Dexter Township, it is still concerned and township supervisor Diane Ratkovich said the resolution to protect the Huron River and other areas from Tribar was approved and will be added to other municipalities’ protests.

The resolution calls for a thorough investigation into what happened, how it might be punished and how it should be prevented from happening again.

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