Toxic Chemical Spill in the Huron River

As of August 2nd, the State of Michigan is advising people to avoid the Huron River downstream of the city of Wixom. Chemicals from Tribar Technologies, an auto supply factory manufacturing chrome plating, were accidentally released into the sewer system, which discharges into the Huron River.

The release of several thousand gallons of Hexavalent chromium, was discovered by Tribar on August 1st; however, they indicated that the spill could have occurred as early as Saturday morning, July 30th

Hexavalent chromium, or hex chrome, is a carcinogenic chemical used in plastic finishing. It can cause numerous health problems through inhalation, skin contact, and ingestion. Because it is so hazardous, companies generally use other harmful chemicals such as PFAS or “forever chemicals” to coat plating baths to help protect workers from chromium inhalation.

The Huron River runs through multiple counties before flowing into Lake Erie. Ann Arbor is the largest city on its banks, which draws its drinking water from. Experts believe the contaminants should not reach the city’s water intake for several weeks.

In the meantime, the Michigan Department of Health (DHHS) advises all people and their pets to avoid contact with the Huron River between North Wixom Road in Oakland County and Kensington Road in Livingston County. Norton Creek, Hubbell Pond (aka the Mill Pond) in Oakland County, and Kent Lake are included in this advisory.

People should not wade, play, or swim in the water. People should not drink from, water their plants, or consume fish caught from the Huron river.  

How these chemicals were spilled is still unknown. Authorities are continuing their investigation and assessment efforts. Liesl Clark, director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) says, “Our teams are in the field now assessing the situation. We will stay on the job as long as it takes to ensure residents are safe and impacts to the ecosystem are minimized.”

DHHS is urging people with questions regarding potential hex chrome exposure to call the MI Toxic Hotline at 800-648-6942, between 8 am-5 pm.

This is not Tribar Technologies first mishap. The current “Do Not Eat” fish advisory is still in place for the Huron river, largely due to their release of PFAS chemicals. In February 2022, parts of the Huron River were shut down in Wayne County due to the discovery of an oil spill traced back to Flat Rock Metal Inc.

Toxic contamination in our drinking waters unfortunately is still an issue that requires more oversight and protection from all. More and more members of Michigan and federal government are starting to take notice.

For pure, clean, quality drinking water, contact Reynold’s Water Conditioning today.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com/ 

All About Rust in Water

What is rust? Is drinking rusty water dangerous? What does rust in your water mean? How do you treat rust in water? Read on to discover the answers to these questions and much more. 

The most telltale sign of rust in your water supply is when appliances such as dishwashers become dirty more quickly, laundry transforms white fabric to yellow, or when toilet bowls, sinks, and showers turn an orangey brown color. 

Rust is the byproduct of oxidizing iron or other metals, causing well water to become corrosive and destructive toward fittings, fixtures, and pipes. Moreover, it can be dangerous for humans to consume.

While humans need a minuscule amount of iron to survive, excess iron can be detrimental to human health. Water can appear rusty when levels are above .3 mg/L. Large chunks of iron can cut your internal organs, and high concentrations of microscopic iron can cause iron poisoning. 

The symptoms of iron poisoning are fever, headache, dizziness, low blood pressure, fast/weak pulse, shortness of breath, fluid in the lungs, grey/blueish/jaundice skin, and/or seizures. Iron poisoning can eventually cause death by liver failure or circulatory system shock. 

Add a water softener to your system to remove rust in your water, which will help make your water crystal clear. Some softeners can be improved by using an enhancement product, which specifically targets iron and removes it from the water softener’s regeneration process. Rust filters are fantastic options to remove this pesky sediment as well.

Since rust can be so damaging, it might be a good idea to replace your plumbing system to ensure there are no traces of rust in your drinking, bathing, or cleaning water. Additionally, adding alkaline minerals such as magnesium oxide or calcium carbonate can improve the pH of corrosive water. 

Sometimes, rust is trickling in through the municipality’s water supply, which would require your local government to replace their pipes. Most pipe replacements can be astronomically expensive, though many municipalities are already heading in that direction. 

If you have rust in your water, contact Reynolds Water Conditioning today – we can help your home be rust-free. 

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com/ 

Novel Technology Promises to Remove ‘Forever Chemicals’

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made, toxic chemicals that have been found in 99 percent of human blood worldwide. More than 200 million Americans in all 50 states are estimated to have PFAS in their drinking water according to researchers. 

From firefighting foams, cosmetics, food wrappers, and non-stick cookware to so much more, PFAS do not break down in the environment, contaminating soil, drinking water, and other organic substances to eventually make their way up the food chain.

According to the Environmental Working Group, almost 3,000 locations in 50 states and two territories are known to have deadly PFAS in their environment.

PFAS have been dubbed “forever chemicals” since they have been found literally everywhere and have been virtually indestructible…until now. 

Amy Dindal, PFAS program manager for Battelle, a scientific nonprofit that has developed promising technology to eliminate PFAS, said, “The threat is real. ‘Supercritical water’ means that you increase the temperature and increase the pressure and you get it into a special state, where the oxidation will occur more naturally. So in this special state, it breaks the [carbon-fluorine] bond.” 

The novel technology invented by Battelle uses supercritical water oxidation to break down the chemical bonds in mere seconds. In laboratory tests, the process has proven itself repeatedly. 

Battelle is partnering with the waste management company Heritage Crystal-Clean to accomplish further testing. 

Brian Recatto, CEO of Heritage Crystal-Clean, said, “I absolutely think it’s an answer that nobody has had before. We’re hoping to have a scalable version of the plant within six- to eight months.” 

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com/ 

Milford Drinking Water Endangered by Underground Contamination

A treatment system is swiftly being constructed in the Village of Milford to counteract underground contamination seeping into the drinking water system from a former automotive supplier (Kelsey-Hayes) plant. The toxic plume is threatening the community of roughly 6,500 people by exposing them to vinyl chloride. 

According to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, an unsafe level of the dangerous chemical was detected in a monitoring well in May, located only 150 feet from Milford’s drinking water intake system. 

Though the toxin has not officially been detected in the public water supply, it “Represents an imminent and substantial endangerment to the public health, safety, welfare, or the environment,” according to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). 

Milford Village Manager Christian Wuerth said, “It’s not a good thing. When you get something like this and it hits close, it’s obviously a concern. I live here, my family’s here, I’ve got friends here. The concern is for everyone in the community and making sure we’ve got clean drinking water.” 

In 1989, the village found a chemical called cis-1,2- dichloroethane, a toxic organic compound, in water found below a vacant downtown parcel once owned by Kelsey-Hayes, according to Kevin Wojciechowski, project manager of EGLE’s remediation and redevelopment sector. 

Kelsey-Hayes closed its doors and demolished its manufacturing plant in 2001. In 2015, ZF Active Safety US acquired the business after taking over TRW Automotive. According to Wojciechowski, ZF is now responsible for the cleanup of the Milford property.

Tony Sapienza, a ZF spokesman, said, “ZF is fully committed to continuing our longstanding working relationship with EGLE and the Village of Milford to ensure that these ongoing activities at the site address impacts from the former industrial operations and that they meet the timelines specified in the administrative order.” 

Wojciechowski said, “This is something that EGLE and the village and others have been dealing with, unfortunately, for a long time. The vinyl chloride is something new that’s come about, but we’ve had a long issue out here of dealing with these issues in the village.”

Don’t let contaminated, toxic water affect you or your family. Contact Reynolds Water today to schedule a consultation and ensure your drinking and shower water is pure and pristine.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: https://www.cpsmi.com/

Novel Technology Can Remediate Forever Chemicals in Water

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances called PFAS are virtually indestructible and infiltrate the bodies of more than 200 million Americans in all 50 states. These cancer-causing carcinogens are present in drinking water across the country.

These man-made chemicals are tough and durable and have been widely used for their ability to repel oil and water in firefighting foams, cosmetics, non-stick cookware (Teflon), anti-static spray, and more. You can’t see, taste, or smell PFAS, so it’s impossible to know whether your water is contaminated unless you test for it. 

Since PFAS do not break down over time in the environment, they can easily contaminate soil and drinking water. Over time, these chemicals make their way into the food chain, with 99.9 percent of people worldwide having PFAS in their bloodstream.

PFAS have been around for more than 60 years, and remediation has yet to be discovered…until now.  Battelle, a scientific nonprofit, has developed a new technology that can finally eliminate PFAS. Using water oxidation, supercritical chemical bonds can be broken down in just seconds.

Amy Dindal, PFAS program manager for Battelle said, “The [PFAS] threat is real. ‘Supercritical water’ means that you increase the temperature and increase the pressure and you get it into a special state, where the oxidation will occur more naturally. So in this special state, it breaks the [carbon–fluorine] bond.”

Battelle claims it has successfully utilized the process to destroy PFAS in drinking water and has started partnering with the waste management company Heritage Crystal-Clean for further testing.

Brian Recatto, CEO of Heritage Crystal-Clean, said, “I absolutely think it’s an answer that nobody has had before. We’re hoping to have a scalable version of the plant within six- to eight months.”

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing team at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Michigan’s Underground Storage Tanks are Raising Concern

Legacy tanks typically store fuel and other hazardous chemicals underground. These tanks generally receive a little-to-no maintenance and were buried before strict regulations were established.

Experts are concerned about the chemicals leaching into municipal drinking water.  A recent fuel leak in Flat Rock was suspected to be caused by a pair of underground steel tanks. The fuel spread to the Huron River by a tributary, as spotted by a fisherman.

After a swift cleanup and containment efforts (such as closing the park), the Flat Rock tanks are a microcosm for a much more significant issue throughout the entire state. Over 8,000 underground storage tanks are potentially leaking, according to the state of Michigan.

Jill Greenberg, an employee of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, said, “Of the 24,000 contaminated sites, 8,000 are leaky underground storage tanks. If there’s a property transaction and the owner knows about contamination, they are legally required to disclose it.”

Companies that are no longer in business are notorious for abandoning tanks as far back as 100 years ago. Greenberg suggested a need for heavier funding to address the unregistered sites, such as those in Flat Rock. However, state leaders anticipate a budget of $163 million to locate and remedy the tanks that have slipped through time.

The overwhelming feeling at the state and federal levels is that these storage tanks pose an urgent crisis that cannot continue to be ignored. Some representatives believe infrastructure dollars should be used toward the tanks.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) said, “EGLE inherited an outdated it system that heavily relied on paper records. We are in the process of upgrading our system and that will allow us to categorize, cross reference and track the contaminated properties we know about.”

United States Representative Debbie Dingell said the tanks in Flat Rock were 100 years old and said, “Nobody had a record of them. I’m sure there’s situations like that all over the state.”

The State of Michigan’s Office of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs is working in conjunction with EGLE to address the tanks. Unfortunately, holding current property owners accountable is fruitless, since many of the tanks were abandoned decades ago. Regardless, regulations should be established now to minimize surprises in the future.

Are you worried about chemicals in your water? Contact the water purification experts at Reynolds Water Conditioning today.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Dealing with Michigan Water Quality Issues

One of the most attractive aspects of Michigan is the five Great Lakes and its abundant interior waterways. While freshwater is plentiful in our area, environmental issues constantly threaten its health. Read on to learn of some recent examples. 

The Flint Water Crisis

The water crisis that began in Flint, Michigan, in 2014 reminds us of what happens when pollution gets out of control, and no one intervenes to stop it. Water for drinking and household use from the Flint River contained lead, bacteria, and chemicals that caused illness, developmental delays in children, and death. Yet, even after the lessons learned from Flint, there are still threats to Michigan’s water supply.

Microplastics

We hear so much about plastic pollution in the ocean, but plastic also pollutes the Great Lakes and Michigan’s inner lakes, rivers, and streams. Microplastics are plastic pieces less than 5 mm long and form when larger plastics break down over time. Microplastic’s tiny size makes them a danger to fish and other aquatic life that may swallow them.

Humans take in microplastics when they eat fish contaminated with the substance. Microplastics can slip through water filtration systems, posing an additional danger to humans and animals. In addition, clothing can shed plastic during laundering, adding microplastics to the water supply.

Lake Erie Algae Bloom

Runoff from manure and fertilizers creates Lake Erie algae bloom. The algae can pollute water, making it toxic to fish. It also pollutes drinking water and prevents people from enjoying water recreation.

PFAs

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs), known as forever chemicals, have threatened Michigan’s water supply for decades. PFAs are found in food packaging, household products, the workplace, fish, and humans due to constant exposure. PFA’s pose several health risks, including liver damage, thyroid disease, and hypertension during pregnancy.

Septic Systems

In rural and suburban areas, failing septic systems can pollute groundwater with bacteria such as E. coli. Illegal septic systems that discharge wastewater into streams and creeks also contribute to a contaminated water supply.

No one wants contaminated water for drinking, cooking, or bathing. Water treatment products and systems can remove undesirable substances from your water, making it safer for drinking and household use. Take control by learning what you can do to prevent exposure to polluted water.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Toxic Chemicals Taint Metro Detroit Drinking Water

Flint and Benton Harbor have become notorious for their toxic drinking water, but they aren’t the only Michigan communities with bad water. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), millions of people throughout Metro Detroit are innocently consuming contaminated tap water with toxins linked to cancer, brain damage, liver disease, reproductive issues, nervous system problems, and more.

EWG is an independent nonprofit that advocates for a chemical-free world; the organization has been a pioneer in clean water, exposing the toxic truth throughout the United States. Through the past two years, 56 new contaminants have been found in drinking water, including PFAS, synthetic chemicals, pesticides, radioactive materials, and water disinfectant byproducts. 

A searchable database on the EWG website analyzes water quality for every ZIP code throughout America. The database was compiled from tap water quality reports. EWG is adamant that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s drinking water regulations are out of date, and levels permitted by the agency are dangerous to those who consume them.

Sydney Evans, an EWG science analyst, said, “Most people don’t realize how many contaminants are in their drinking water. That should be concerning to people. Most people think their water is perfectly safe and pure because it’s treated, but that’s not true.”

EWG used current, peer-reviewed research to compile their own drinking water safety standards, and the water supplies servicing the metro Detroit community far surpass the limits. Some of the toxic carcinogens found in drinking water throughout our state include hexavalent chromium, PFAS, radium, nitrate, haloacetic acids, and total trihalomethanes.

EWG president Ken Cook said, “The EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] has become very good at constantly reassuring the public that all is well with the water coming out of their taps. That message is music to the ears of the polluters who’ve fouled source waters and water utilities wary of treatment and infrastructure costs. But it’s just not true – and the EPA’s own scientists know it.”

The Safe Water Drinking Act, set in 1976, put the EPA at the helm of overseeing water quality; however, the federal agency has not set a new tap water standard in almost 20 years, and some standards are over forty decades old. No new contaminants have been added to its regulated list since 2000.

Throughout the 39 communities in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties, ten or more contaminants exceeded EWG guidelines. In numerous communities throughout metro Detroit, three contaminants exceeded EWG limits by more than 100 times.

With outdated regulations, utilities can legally provide unsafe levels of toxic chemicals while assuring the public they are following the law.

Are you concerned about the unsafe levels of toxins in your drinking water? Contact the water purification experts at Reynolds Water conditioning today.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Contaminated Water Detected by Smartphone Screens

Billions of smartphones and tablets worldwide could be used to sense toxins in water and soil by way of the touchscreen technology used in everyday practice without any modifications. The report was published in the journal Sensors and Actuators B.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have successfully shown how a regular touchscreen can identify contaminants by dropping liquid samples on the screen. Since touchscreen sensitivity is comparable to lab-based equipment, it can be used in unsterilized environments.

For now, this novel accomplishment is a proof of concept, but it can be expanded for various applications such as biosensing or medical diagnostics. Smartphones interpret electrical fields when a finger disrupts the electrical field running through a touchscreen.

Dr. Ronan Daly from Cambridge’s Institute of Manufacturing, who co-led the research, said, “We wanted to know if we could interact with the technology in a different way, without having to fundamentally change the screen. Instead of interpreting a signal from your finger, what if we could get a touchscreen to read electrolytes, since these ions also interact with the electric fields?”

During trials, researchers pipetted several liquids onto smartphone screens. Depending on the concentration of ions and their charge, the measurements were recorded from each droplet.

The new technology could be used to detect arsenic contamination in drinking water. Arsenic is a common contaminant found in groundwater but is filtered out by most municipal water systems. Arsenic water contamination is a substantial problem in parts of the world without water treatment.

“In theory, you could add a drop of water to your phone before you drink it, in order to check that it’s safe. For example, if we could get the sensitivity to a point where the touchscreen could detect heavy metals, it could be used to test for things like lead in drinking water. We also hope in the future to deliver sensors for home health monitoring,” said Daly.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

PFAS Will Soon Be Regulated by EPA

Polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are commonly known as “forever chemicals” due to their inability to break down naturally through time. These toxic chemicals have been found in water supplies in communities statewide. It is in the blood of 99.9 percent of all inhabitants on Earth.

Until now, there have not been any stringent standards for PFAS. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will soon regulate these human-made toxins that pose severe and life-threatening health risks for millions of people. In 2016, a recommended (yet unenforceable) health advisory limit was set at 70 parts per trillion for PFAS in drinking water. Now, scientists are saying those levels are unsafe for human health. With the new standards set by the EPA, local water utility companies will encounter consequences if they do not follow them.

PFAS can be found in much more than water; they have been used for decades in Teflon pans, fire retardants, cosmetics, dental floss, food packaging, clothing, cleaning supplies, and much more. With the new regulations, manufacturers will be required to provide specific data about the chemicals they use to create their products.

By 2023, the Defense Department will complete preliminary evaluations of possible PFAS contamination in roughly 700 different installations. The Food and Drug Administration, as well as the Agriculture and Health and Human Services departments, are both researching the health effects of PFAS.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan said, “This is a really bold set of actions for a big problem. This strategy really lays out a series of concrete and ambitious actions to protect people. There are concrete steps that we are taking that move this issue forward in a very aggressive way.”

PFAS can lead to infertility risks, thyroid disease, cancer, developmental problems in children, and much more. A 2016 study by scientists at Harvard University found that drinking water supplies for more than six million Americans had highly unsafe levels of PFAS.

The study’s lead author, Xindi Hu, said, “Virtually all Americans are exposed to these chemicals. They never break down. Once they are released into the environment, they are there.”

Robert Bilott, an environmental attorney whose story was made famous by the movie “Dark Waters,” when he successfully sued DuPont on behalf of plaintiffs exposed to PFAS in Ohio and West Virginia, said, “I do believe that in this term, we will make significant progress on this issue. I hate to be cynical, but I’ve been seeing this for 20 years. It’s massively overdue. It’s decades overdue. This is a huge public health threat, and it’s something that has just gone on way too long.”

More than likely, you have PFAS in your drinking water. Contact the water purification experts at Reynolds today – we can ensure your water is clean, pure, and safe from chemicals.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.