A public meeting on the Huron River contamination and efforts being put toward mitigating the PFAS problem drew a large crowd in Milford Thursday.

Community members filled the meeting room at the Milford Civic Center, leaving standing-room only, and still a line of guests continued out of the room and into the hallway. The meeting was led by the Huron River Watershed Council, along with Milford, Milford Township and Wixom officials, and representatives from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

State officials first gave a presentation to educate attendees about per- and polyfluroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, which are man-made and “nearly indestructible” chemicals found in a variety of common household products, construction materials, electronics and firefighting foam. MDEQ and MDHHS representatives shared the status of various water and fish sampling that’s been underway, as they work to learn the extent of the contamination.

Wixom City Manager Steve Brown also shared measures that are being taken by a company that has been confirmed as a significant source of PFAS that are being discharged into Norton Creek. Brown says Tribar is installing temporary filtration systems while the MDEQ works to determine how PFAS levels in Tribar’s discharge have actually increased, since the company stopped using products that contained the chemicals in 2015.

Hamburg Township officials, referring to Tribar, have called on Wixom city officials to “close the valve”, but Stephanie Kammer of the DEQ's water quality unit says it's not that simple. Kammer says it will take a process that includes treatment options and working with municipality and company partners to address the situation appropriately.

The MDEQ is currently sampling sites in Livingston County, all of which have been non-detect for the chemicals thus far. The most recent data shows the MDEQ has completed about 89% of the county’s sampling. Alex Hansen, who is running for the Livingston County Commissioners’ 5th District seat, attended the meeting and says he's "disappointed in the lack of importance placed on the issue by county commissioners". Hansen noted there were no Livingston County commissioners in attendance, adding that "actions speak louder than words". (DK)