The single largest source of PFAS chemical contamination in the Huron River has been identified as plastics manufacturer Tribar Manufacturing Inc. PFAS—per and polyfluoroalkyl substances—are a family of chemicals that do not break down in the environment and have been proven to cause cancer and other illnesses.
The company’s influent pipes to the Wixom wastewater treatment plant reached 28,000 ppt for PFOS, one chemical in the PFAS family. Michigan’s allowable limit for discharge into surface water is 12 ppt of PFOS. The city of Wixom issued an administrative order to Tribar Manufacturing on September 19th, directing it to stop discharging PFAS.
Wixom’s wastewater treatment plant is unable to remove the high concentration of PFAS from Tribar’s influent, resulting in the plant discharging treated water containing high levels of PFAS into Norton Creek, a tributary of the Huron River. The City of Ann Arbor has plans for 2019 to construct an $850,000 granular active carbon water filtration system to eliminate PFAS chemicals from its drinking water.