Delivery, self-service hours improve access to clean water in City of Benton Harbor; State of Michigan has distributed more than 47,000 cases of free bottled water

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 18, 2021

CONTACT: Bob Wheaton, 517-241-2112

LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced details today about the delivery of bottled water to homebound residents and residents without transportation along with a self-service location with expanded hours for residents who want to quickly load water into their vehicles without having to wait in line.

Free bottled water is being provided by the state as residents are being encouraged to use bottled water for cooking, drinking, brushing teeth, rinsing foods and mixing powdered infant formula. The state has now provided 47,216 cases of bottled water to residents of the city of Benton Harbor.

In addition to the existing water distribution, Meals on Wheels of Southwest Michigan in Benton Harbor will start delivering water along with meals to their clients who live within the City of Benton Harbor on Tuesday. 

"We deliver meals to many seniors in Benton Harbor who are unable to get out of the house to pick up food," said Linda Strohl, executive director of Meals on Wheels of Southwest Michigan. "They cannot access bottled water unless we can bring it to them. I am pleased to work with state and local officials to deliver clean water to these residents."

The added self-service distribution hours are at the Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency, which are in addition to the distribution hours at that location where residents can have volunteers load water into their vehicles.

Upcoming dates and times for residents to pick up water at distribution sites are:

Tuesday, Oct. 19

  • Southwest Community Action Agency, 331 Miller St. (Self-service pick-up), 10 am.-2 p.m.
  • Abundant Life Church of God, 693 Columbus Ave., noon-2 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 20

  • Southwest Community Action Agency (Water loaded into vehicles by volunteers), 1-3 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 21

  • Southwest Community Action Agency (Water loaded into vehicles by volunteers), 4-6 p.m.
  • Brotherhood of All Nations,1286 Monroe St., 4-6 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 22

  • God's Household of Faith, 275 Pipestone Road, 2-6 p.m.
  • Southwest Community Action Agency (Self-service pick-up), 10-2 p.m.

This action is part of an accelerated, across-the-board effort to reduce the risk of exposure to lead in drinking water while the city replaces all lead service lines. This collaborative effort includes the City of Benton Harbor, the Berrien County Health Department, local community organizations, MDHHS and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

The state and volunteers distributed 6,048 cases of water over the weekend and 3,104 cases today.

MDHHS is engaging in a long-term effort to eliminate lead action level exceedances, educate communities on the effects of lead in drinking water, and remove lead service lines.

Additional dates and locations for bottled water pick up will be added to make sure community needs are met. Information will be posted on Michigan.gov/MiLeadSafe.

Efforts to support homebound residents and residents without transportation are also underway. To arrange water delivery to homebound or residents without transportation in the city of Benton Harbor, please contact 211, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For questions about lead, MDHHS can be reached at 866-691-5323 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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