Families urged to take advantage of free home lead inspections
By Michigan Department OF Health and Human Services
LANSING, Mich. – City of Benton Harbor families are reminded that due to the Thanksgiving holiday, there will not be bottled water distribution on Thursday, Nov. 24 and Friday, Nov. 25.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is providing free, bottled water for City of Benton Harbor residents. It’s important that Benton Harbor families continue to use filters or bottled water for cooking, drinking, brushing teeth, rinsing foods and mixing powdered infant formula until they have their free home lead inspection.
Lead-reducing filters and bottled water will continue be provided to City of Benton Harbor residents even as lead service line replacement work nears completion nearly five months ahead of schedule.
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A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study confirms that certified filters, properly installed and maintained, are effective in reducing lead in Benton Harbor drinking water.
The Berrien County Health Department (BCHD) is providing free lead-reducing filters. Residents can receive a free filter by picking one up at BCHD at 2149 E. Napier Avenue, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Filters can also be mailed to residents who call the drinking water hotline at 844-934-1315 or fill out an online form.
To arrange water delivery to homebound or residents without transportation in the City of Benton Harbor, contact 211, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Phones that cannot contact 211 should contact 844-875-9211.
City of Benton Harbor residents can pick up water at Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor Fettig Youth Campus, 600 Nate Wells Sr. Drive, on the following dates:
- Saturday, Nov. 26, 12 to 2 p.m.
- Sunday, Nov. 27, 2 to 4 p.m.
Southwest Community Action Agency, 331 Miller Street, is hosting water pickup on the following dates:
- Wednesday, Nov. 23, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Thursday, Nov. 24, CLOSED
- Friday, Nov. 25, CLOSED
- Monday, Nov. 28, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The water bottle recycling trailer is now located in Housing Commission parking lot, 721 Nate Wells Sr. Drive. This location is adjacent to the water distribution site at the Boys & Girls Club to continue to allow easy access for empty water bottle recycling.
The ongoing response in Benton Harbor includes the city, Berrien County Health Department, local community organizations, MDHHS and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called for the replacement of lead service lines in Benton Harbor in 18 months and the Whitmer-Gilchrist Administration the administration has secured the funding to replace 100 percent of the lines in the city.
There is no cost to City of Benton Harbor residents for lead service line replacement. To assist with assuring the work can be completed as soon as possible, residents are encouraged to complete the Water Service Line Replacement Agreement available online. Contractors cannot begin work on any property without property owner authorization. Completed forms submitted online or returned to Abonmarche, 95 West Main Street, Benton Harbor, MI 49022 or emailed to Sandy Riehl at email@example.com. For questions, call 269-926-4557.
Home lead services are available for all housing units, rental or owner occupied, on the Benton Harbor water supply, regardless of the age of the home. There are no household income requirements, and the services are available to single and multi-family residences. Owners of rental properties will be required to participate in cost sharing for services.
In home-lead investigation services can include environmental investigations to identify lead in paint, dust, soil and drinking water hazards. In addition, sequential water sampling to identify lead in drinking water and testing of non-household components (toys, dishes, furniture, etc.) with potential to contain lead will be offered.
Lead abatement services can include full abatement services for lead in paint, dust, soil and drinking water hazards. Pre-2014 bathroom and kitchen faucets used for potable water will be replaced regardless of water sampling results.
Applications are available online at Lead Safe Home Program ALE application. Residents also can call 866-691-5323 to obtain information.
For questions about lead, MDHHS can be reached at 866-691-5323 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.