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City of Ann Arbor prepares for possible chromium contamination at its drinking water intake

The Huron River in Dexter Huron Metropark
Caroline Llanes
Michigan Radio
The Huron River in Dexter Huron Metropark

State and Ann Arbor officials will be regularly testing water from the Huron River for hexavalent chromium in the coming weeks.

That's after a manufacturing company released a large amount of the carcinogenic chemical into the river.

Brian Steglitz is manager for water treatment services for Ann Arbor. He says he doesn't know if the chemical will be detectable once it reaches the city's intake in a few weeks, but the city has extensive treatment technologies available already.

That includes mixed media filters, ozone and UV disinfection. The city already removes metals from its treated water, he said, and hexavalent chromium is a metal.

"And right now we're working with the state to determine if there's any modifications we need to make to how we treat the water in order to remove this if it ends up reaching our intake."

Steglitz does not anticipate residents of Ann Arbor will have to drink bottled water because of the spill.

The company that state regulators say is responsible, Tribar Manufacturing, hasn't yet commented.

Meanwhile, people are being urged to avoid contact with the Huron River between North Wixom Road in Oakland County and Kensington Road in Livingston County.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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