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Wixom company sets new record for PFAS contamination of surface water

Dwight Burdette
City offices in Wixom, MI.

A company in Wixom has set a new record for PFAS, and it's not the kind of record to be proud of. 

A state test found 5,500 parts per trillion of PFAS in Norton Creek in Oakland County -- more than 450 times what's allowed in surface water. 

The chemicals have been traced to Tribar Manufacturing, which makes chrome-plated car parts. 

Laura Rubin is head of the Huron River Watershed Council. She says PFAS chemicals are ubiquitous in Michigan.

"Paper manufacturers, metal finishers, electroplaters, tanneries," she ticks off a short list, "and Michigan has a lot of manufacturers."

And now that Michigan is looking for the industrial chemicals, it's finding them everywhere. The compounds have been linked to health problems.  

Tribar is installing a filtration system with the aim of dramatically lowering its PFAS discharges. The state standard for surface water is 12 parts per trillion.

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