Michigan health department increases availability of bottled water to Benton Harbor city residents

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services is increasing the availability of free bottled water in Benton Harbor and recommends residents use bottled water out of an abundance of caution as efforts to address lead levels in the city accelerate.

“Protecting the health and safety of Benton Harbor residents is a top priority,” said Elizabeth Hertel, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “We’ve listened to the community’s concerns and out of an abundance of caution, we are recommending that residents use bottled water for cooking, drinking and brushing teeth.”

The health department also recommends bottled water be used for rinsing foods and mixing powdered infant formula.

Unfiltered tap water can be used for showering or bathing, for washing hands, dishes, clothes, and for cleaning.

Free bottled water will be provided as long as needed and can be found on the following days:

  • Thursday, October 7 from 4-6 p.m.
    • Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency (CAA), 331 Miller St., Benton Harbor
  • Friday, October 8 from 2-6 p.m.
    • God’s Household of Faith, 275 Pipestone, Benton Harbor

Additional dates and locations will be added at this website.

Residents who can’t pick up water and/or need water delivered should call 800-815-5485 to schedule drop-offs.

The EPA is performing a filter effectiveness study to gather data and provide confidence in the effectiveness of water filters to reduce lead in drinking water.

The increase in bottled water availability is part of a longer-term effort to eliminate exceedances of the federal lead standard, educate the community on the effects of lead in drinking water, remove lead service lines, and increase confidence in filtered water from the tap.

Questions about lead can be directed to the health department at 866-691-5323 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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