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State to decrease bottled water distribution in Benton Harbor

Don Campbell - The Herald Palladium

Dec 15, 2022

Bottled water sits outside a home along Jennings Avenue in Benton Harbor in July as crews continue lead line replacement across the city.

BENTON HARBOR — Adjustments are being made to the distribution of bottled water in Benton Harbor due to the holidays and decreased demand.

Beginning Jan. 4, bottled water will no longer be distributed at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Southwest Michigan’s Fettig Youth Campus in Benton Harbor, according to a news release from the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services.

As of Wednesday, only 27 water service lines out of about 4,500 remained to be replaced unless they are verified not to be made of lead.

“As the lead service line replacement project is nearing completion, we are making adjustments to our bottled water distribution plan based on demand, which has been steadily decreasing,” MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said in the news release. “We are grateful for all the amazing partners we have had in providing Benton Harbor families with clean drinking water. We could not have done this so successfully without the hard work and dedication of the churches, community groups and volunteers.”

Until then, bottled water will be available at the club at 600 Nate Wells Sr. Drive on the following dates:
Noon to 2 p.m. Dec. 17
2-4 p.m. Dec. 18
9-11 a.m. Dec. 20
9-11 a.m. Dec. 27

Water will still be available to be picked up from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Southwest Community Action Agency, 331 Miller St. The agency is hosting water pickup on Dec. 15, 19, 21, 22, 28, 29 and 30.

Residents are reminded to clean the aerators on their faucets at least once a month.

The Benton Harbor Health Department is providing free lead-reducing filters to Benton Harbor residents. They can be picked up from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. They can also be received by calling 844-934-1315.

Residents are urged to continue using bottled water until they receive a free home lead inspection to find out if there are other sources of lead in their homes. A link to sign up for the inspection can be found at safe/Community-Response/benton-harbor. Residents can also apply by calling 866-691-5323.

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