Benton Harbor to receive $5.6M grant to replace lead pipes

NOW: Benton Harbor to receive $5.6M grant to replace lead pipes

BENTON HARBOR, Mich.—The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday announced that it will award Benton Harbor with a $5.6 million grant to remove lead service lines.

"Even the tragedy in Flint, only three hours from here, was not enough to get the federal government to act fast to ensure something like this would not happen again," said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. "That’s why I’m happy to announce the awarding of nearly $40 million in grants across the country through the WIIN Act."

The grant will also be used to support a study to optimize the city’s lead corrosion control treatment.

Grant funds will be used specifically to help replace as many residential lead service lines as possible.

Service lines will be replaced with copper piping from the water main to the home’s service connection.

Officials said at the announcement that the grant will provide clean, lead-free drinking water to city residents.

"Old pipes will be replaced from the water main to the homes of service connection and include both private and public portions of the lead service line," said Wheeler. "Existing lead pipe posed a risk to residents and without this funding the homeowner would have to pay for the private portion of the service connection."

Only 10 cities were chosen as recipients of the grant - in addition to Benton Harbor, Grand Rapids will also have lead pipes replaced.

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