Michigan faces another water contamination crisis as pressure mounts to hold polluters accountable

Michigan faces another water contamination crisis as pressure mounts to hold polluters accountable

August 3, 2022 0 By Ellen Novack

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 02:  U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on February 2, 2022 in Washington, DC. House Democratic leadership held a news conference to discuss Democratic agenda.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Rep. Debbie Dingell has long championed measures meant to hold polluters accountable and better regulate dangerous chemicals like PFAS and hexavalent chromium.

A crucial river that provides drinking water and recreation for many Michiganders has once again been polluted by the manufacturing company Tribar. On Monday, the company notified the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy about its release of “several thousand gallons of a liquid containing 5% hexavalent chromium into the sewer system,” according to a press release. Hexavalent chromium is a known carcinogen used in textile manufacturing and stainless steel production. Exposure to the chemical compound can cause nasal and sinus cancers, damage the kidney and liver, and irritate skin.

The fact that Tribar suspects the release may have been going since Saturday morning, and the lack of even an estimate of the number of gallons of contaminated water making its way into the Huron River is certainly alarming.

Also alarming? This isn’t Tribar’s first contamination crisis: The company was found responsible for a 2018 release of “forever chemicals” like PFAS into the Huron River. Officials have warned residents not to swim in or drink water from the Huron River, water their plants with Huron River water, or eat fish caught in the section of the river that’s contaminated, not that the latter was an option.



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