Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Public Advisory for Drinking Water Customers in the City of Benton Harbor

 The City of Benton Harbor has been conducting ongoing testing of the City's water supply in accordance with the regulations under the lead and copper Rule of the Drinking Water Act for the State of Michigan. On August 2, 2021, Benton Harbor found that more than 10% of the water samples recently gathered in 78 residencies exceeded the Action Level of 15 parts per billion (ppb) for lead, resulting in Benton Harbor's sixth Action Level Exceedance (ALE). The  90th percentile for these samples was 24 ppb for lead, with 11 of 78 samples having lead samples in excess of 15 ppb. There are many homes in Benton Harbor that have lead service lines , the pipes that deliver water to your home , as a result , the ALE will continue until lead sampling show less lead, so that less than 10% of the samples are above the Action Level

Since October 2018, the City of Benton Harbor, along with many community partners, have been taking several steps to reduce resident's exposure to lead. The city of Benton Harbor is continuing to replace the City's lead service lines, maintaining corrosion control in the water supply at the City's Water Plant , and providing ongoing support and education for residents with water testing and understanding how they can limit lead exposure. The City is committed to continuing to take all corrective actions including partnering with the Benton Harbor Water Outreach Task Force.

The Task Force will provide regular updates about lead outreach efforts and  lead service lines. Members of the Task Force will include a representative from the Benton Harbor Community Water Council, the City of Benton Harbor, Berrien County Health Department, Andrews University, Freshwater Future, Benton Spirit Community Newspaper, along with the office of the Clean Water Public Advocate, Michigan Department of Environment,  Great Lakes, and Energy, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. If you are interested in helping to support and upcoming events.

The problem : Benton Harbor's water distribution system, which are pipes that help deliver water to your home, is about 100 years old. It is known that a high number of lead service lines were installed in the first half of the 20th century and many homes built before the 1960's are likely to have lead service lines or pipes that pose a health risk to residents.

How to protect your family : Obtain a lead reducing filter and maintain it by regularly cleaning and changing the cartridge. While the city is replacing lead service lines , you should routinely replace your filter cartridge.