Read the full article by Paula Gardner

“Contamination in an Oakland County creek that feeds into the Huron River and its chain of lakes is setting a new state record for PFAS present today in Michigan surface water.

Now the source of the pollution is under orders to outline steps it will take to reduce how much of the chemical it’s sending into the waterway by October 19.

Testing at Norton Creek by the state on July 24 showed a reading of 5,500 parts per trillion (ppt) of PFOS, an individual compound in the PFAS family of poly- and per-fluorinated ‘forever chemicals’ linked to cancer and other health conditions, according to state environmental officials.

That level is more than 450 times what the state allows in surface waters and 78 times the lifetime health advisory for human consumption.

The PFOS concentration also exceeds most reported readings at Clark’s Marsh near the closed Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda. Testing for PFAS chemicals since 2011 placed that location at the top of the state’s measurable PFOS pollution by several thousand parts per trillion before filtration systems were installed.

‘The numbers for Norton Creek are astronomical,’ said Laura Rubin, executive director of the Huron River Watershed Council. ‘They are really alarming.’

The test results were shared Thursday, Sept. 20,  with regional officials on an online seminar organized by the Department of Environmental Quality, one day after the city of Wixom issued an administrative order to Tribar Manufacturing to reduce or eliminate the PFAS it is sending into the city’s wastewater treatment plant…

Testing accellerated this summer after disclosure by Wixom that its wastewater treatment plant has been discharging treated water containing PFAS into Norton Creek. The city discovered that in mid-June, as it followed through on mandatory testing initiated by state officials targeting PFAS…

DEQ officials on Sept. 20 confirmed that a single industrial wastewater customer in Wixom — identified through documents obtained by as Adept Plating and Plastics, now operating as Tribar Manufacturing Inc. — is the only identified source of the enforceable PFOS contamination.

The company’s influent — or water going into the Wixom wastewater treatment plant – reached 28,000 ppt of PFOS, one chemical in the PFAS family. The state is now looking to the city to reduce the amount flowing into Norton Creek in the treated water, which measures 290 ppt. State laws allow up to 12 ppt of PFOS to be discharged into surface water…

The city is now working with the company to reduce the PFOS, Kammer said, noting that it’s an emerging issue with evolving timelines and technology.

‘It’s not something they can just turn a switch overnight,’ Kammer said.

However, the company now faces a deadline: By October 19, it has to tell Wixom how the ‘violations occurred and how future violations will be prevented.’ It also has to provide a detailed work plan on how it will prevent pass-through contamination while it works on a solution, as well as pay for the city’s ongoing testing.

State officials informed the manager of Wixom’s wastewater treatment plant in a letter sent Aug. 6 that the city was expected to do monthly tests of its effluent and ‘work cooperatively’ with the confirmed source of PFOS…

A statement from Adept/Tribar said the automotive supplier that produces chrome-plated plastic components has been doing pilot testing of emerging technology since May. That effort, it said,  ‘may be able to address this condition in its waste stream and is aggressively working towards a comprehensive solution.’

DEQ spokesman Scott Dean said the company has hired a contractor to set up a granular activated carbon filter for the water it sends to the city’s treatment plant.”