September 01, 2022 - “Fortunately, other processes at Tribar and the WWTP served to contain the hexavalent chromium prior to discharge from the WWTP as testing results, conducted at the time of the incident and after, indicated the WWTP discharge was compliant with regulatory guidelines.”
August 12, 2022 – “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.”
"Fortunately, Hexavalent Chromium was contained, and Tribar has made additional investments to protect against any releases while further exploring transitioning to Trivalent Chromium"
Tribar contacted EGLE to notify EGLE of a potential spill. Tribar reported this immediately after determining this was a possibility. All facts were not yet gathered, but open communication with all agencies was initiated immediately and was ongoing
We determined that a now former night shift employee violated company rules and overrode several notifications, which led to Tribar reporting a potential hexavalent release. Upon discovery, Tribar contacted EGLE and the City of Wixom of a potential release. Tribar reported a worst-case scenario immediately after determining this might be a possibility, and established open communication with all agencies. Without field sampling, Tribar could not adequately determine how much of the hexavalent chromium was trapped within Tribar’s in-house wastewater treatment system or how much had been converted to trivalent chromium. Tribar contracted two outside independent consultants to determine the extent of the release.
The Tribar team and the independent consultants provided all relevant information to local, State and Federal agencies
Numerous locations along the Huron River were tested by EGLE and only trace amounts of hexavalent chromium were found in 3 locations. These were found to be below safety limits for human contact, surface water and aquatic life
After extensive, third-party investigation into the unauthorized release at Tribar's Plant 5 location, testing at Tribar's plant, the wastewater treatment plant and the Huron River showed that greater than 99% of the hexavalent chromium was converted to non-toxic trivalent chromium or was caught in the Plant 5 granular activated carbon (GAC) system prior to the release into the city wastewater system.
Only de minimis amounts of chromium were found during testing along a 42-mile stretch of the river systems downstream of the city’s wastewater treatment plant, and no test results
exceeded safety limits for any applicable human contact, surface water or aquatic life.
The total quantity of Hexavalent chromium that was released was less than 0.003% of what was originally communicated.
Per EGLE: "Based on initial 144 tests throughout the watershed, samples reflected “nondetectable” levels of hexavalent chromium in all cases except three. Each of those three sample results were below our water quality values."
The main goal is to move to an environmentally friendly surface treatment, focused on the pursuit of Trivalent as the new direction for bright surface finishing.
Tribar has completed an assessment to convert many of our product lines to environmentally friendly trivalent chrome. Tribar is pursuing multiple facility upgrades to deliver environmentally-friendly coatings to our customers.
Although we implemented corrective actions to our facilities that would stop a Hexavalent event from ever occurring again, we continue to pursue better, more environmentally friendly surface finishes. We have and continue to invest in systems to protect our waterways, reuse, and recycle.
MI Toxic Hotline, 800-648-6942 for hexavalent chromium, potential health effects, or exposure questions
EGLE Environmental Assistance Center, 800-662-9278 for drinking water and surface water questions