EPA orders Benton Harbor to address violations of Safe Drinking Water Act

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a Unilateral Administrative Order asking the city of Benton Harbor to bring its water system into compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The order was in response to the alleged violations and deficiencies in the water system that were found during a federal-state inspection.

Benton Harbor has been providing water filters and bottled water for all residents due to the presence of lead in the water.

“The people of Benton Harbor have suffered for too long. EPA is fully engaged and working to support the community, and today, we are taking a critical next step to ensure that drinking water is safe and reliable,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Exposure to lead in children can cause irreversible and life-long health effects, including decreasing IQ, focus, and academic achievement. The water infrastructure in Benton Harbor, like many cities across the country, needs upgrades and investments to build resiliency and protect people from lead.”

The EPA has ordered the city to take the following actions:

  • Informing consumers when lead action level exceedances are detected in drinking water.
  • Improving the applications of chlorine for disinfection and orthophosphate for corrosion control.
  • Implementing stricter requirements for better monitoring of residual disinfectants and its byproducts.
  • Making filter repairs at the treatment plant.
  • Using an independent third-party to conduct an analysis of alternatives for the long-term operation and maintenance of the system.
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