Benton Harbor holds second water resource fair as latest samples show lower lead levels

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. — A water resource fair was held Thursday for Benton Harbor residents to pick up things like bottled water and baby formula and get help with other needs like blood lead level testing or giving authorization for service line replacements.

In the two and a half months since the city declared an emergency over lead in its tap water, progress has been made. 

“We have swapped out close to 40 service lines and we don’t want any jams that would offend our 18 month timetable,” said Mayor Marcus Muhammad. 

Michigan EGLE also shared results of its latest lead testing – sampling that’s been required every six months in the city since 2018.  

Samples of 63 homes showed Benton Harbor is right at the federal action level. 

“They’ve gone down from 23 parts per billion to 15, which puts the city in compliance with the state’s very strict Lead & Copper Rule,” said Scott Dean, Strategic Communications Advisor at Michigan EGLE.

MDHHS also paid off hundreds of water bills this week, and results on the efficacy of faucet filters are expected soon by the EPA. 

The swift action has shown collaboration between the state and city is working.  

“We are doing all that we can to keep [residents] safe and address the problem,” said Mayor Muhammad.   

Michigan EGLE said while their latest test results are promising, they need to see this become the trend before people should consume tap water again. 

Residents can continue calling 211 for all their water needs. 

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