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Protest draws hundreds of residents angered by toxic release into Huron River

Approximately 250 people turned out Wednesday to protest the release of a toxic chemical into the Huron River.

Chanting “shut them down” the rally at Heavner Canoe Rental in Milford featured  House Democratic Floor Leader Yousef Rabhi, the sponsor of House Bill 4314 that would make polluters pay for releases like the one blamed on Tribar Manufacturing’s Wixom facility.

“We used to have polluter pay as the law of the land here in Michigan,” said Rabhi. “John Engler, under his administration, eliminated polluter pay and ever since then we have lived in a state where polluters are not being held accountable.”

Also speaking was Clean Water Action Michigan Policy Director Sean McBrearty.

“We know that instances of contamination like this one not only impacts the river’s ecosystem, but in a larger sense they impact the reputation of our water,” he said. “A reputation that so many good local businesses, like the canoe and kayak businesses here with us today, rely on for business.”

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) says their Water Resources Division (WRD) issued violations to Tribar Manufacturing and initiated accelerated enforcement related to issues involving the unauthorized release of a plating solution containing hexavalent chromium the weekend of July 29.

EGLE noted that the company’s operator overrode alarms 460 times on July 29, allowing a large tank containing the toxic chemical to drain into Wixom’s wastewater treatment system unimpeded.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) continues to recommend that people and pets avoid contact with the Huron River water between North Wixom Road in Oakland County and Kensington Road in Livingston County.

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